Air Structures
Will McLean and Pete Silver 

The air structure is the most efficient structural form available to date…no other type of structure has the potential of providing free-span coverage for so large an area…as the air structure is constructed of light weight, flexible materials, it can be made easily portable and lends itself readily to the design of demountable or removable structures.

Walter Bird, 1967

It is almost 50 years since the 1st International Colloquium on Pneumatic Structures (University of Stuttgart, 1967). The colloquium welcomed leaders of this rapidly evolving technological art including; Walter Bird, Victor Lundy, Heinz Isler, Dante Bini, Nikolaus Laing, Cedric Price and was hosted by Frei Otto. As documented in the proceedings, Walter Bird presented an overview of the field entitled The Development of Pneumatic Structures, Past Present and Future. Walter Bird constructed the world’s first air-supported radome in 1946 and in 1955 he established Birdair Structures and produced pneumatic ‘bubble’ enclosures such as tennis court and swimming pool covers, which attracted much media attention. Birdair subsequently produced large-scale pneumatic structures (notably with architect Victor Lundy) and led this field through developments of materials and fabrication techniques.

Air can be used in a variety of ways to make lightweight, flexible structures. It can be used to make inflatable structures, mobile structures and temporary buildings. It can also activate movable elements and act as a means of constructing buildings that would be impossible with conventional construction methods. This book looks at every facet of the subject, examining the different types of air structure: super pressure buildings, air-beam structures, buoyant structures, inflatable structures and many more. It also looks at the construction methods that use air, such as air-inflated steel, aerated concrete and blow moulding. Filled with photographs, models, drawings and diagrams, this is the ideal book for curious students, designers and architects.

Published October 2015 by Laurence King
208pp 280x216mm Paperback
ISBN 9781780674827