Last Thursday and Friday, two friends and I ran a series of architecture workshops with year 11 students at a secondary school in Cambridge. We introduced the students to inflatable structures and tried to get them to think about how to express aspects of different landscapes like the desert, jungle and mountains in an inhabitable structure. We focused on how to translate light qualities, density, visibility, colour and textures, and worked with the students in groups of eight with a rapid prototyping and ‘anything goes’ attitude.
Two days and 15 rolls of sellotape later, the students had constructed four different inflatable ‘mini-verses’, a desert, mountain range, jungle and a large space combining all three. Though a large part of the workshops focused on the ‘tapestry’ of recycled plastics (including the bubble wrap from our new office furniture) that made up the surface of the structures, next time I think we will try and focus on manipulating spaces created within the inflatables and get the kids to engage with them more spatially.