The Yorkshire Diamond / Various Architects

The Yorkshire Diamond / Various Architects

Our friends at Various Architects, authors of the innovative Mobile Performance Venue, just shared with us a new inflatable project, currently running up for the Yorkshire Renaissance Pavilion competition. From a total of 87 submissions, the jury selected 5 projects and then narrowed down to 3 finalists. Final results aren´t announced yet – we´ll keep you posted on that.

Their project, named “The Yorkshire Diamond“, has a very particular structure with inflatable tubes forming a diamond-lattice structure, forming a box with an excavated interior, which allows for different configurations.

The architect´s description:

The project is an attraction in itself with a striking exterior in the form of inflatable tubes arranged in the atomic structure of diamonds. The 20 x 26 x 10 meter diamond grid volume is mined out to form a cavernous interior space reminiscent of the coal mines of Yorkshire. Light and air shafts pierce the structure providing natural light and ventilation. At night the translucent shafts and outer skin radiate light in all colors and directions like a diamond twinkling in the sunlight.

A focus on flexibility gives the pavilion multiple configurations which allow it to be used for everything from small gatherings to large conferences or public presentations. The voluminous internal space will surprise and delight when installed in close quartered public squares. The pavilion can also be turned ‘inside out’ to open up a large covered area to open outdoor spaces to create the ultimate mobile venue for concerts or big-screen events.

Innovative sustainable features that can generate energy during transport and while installed, together with lightweight recyclable materials will demonstrate Yorkshire Forward’s commitment to the environment wherever the pavilion is situated. Creative new uses of existing proven technologies make this pavilion design possible to produce and operate for a reasonable price.

With it’s inflatable structural skin, the Yorkshire Diamond is as lightweight as possible to reduce travel weight and packing volume, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint for transport of the pavilion. The project also features innovative uses of natural light, natural ventilation, and recyclable materials.

The Pavilion uses tried and tested inflatable technology consisting of pressurised tubes in a new and stunning way. The diamond-lattice structure creates a stable 3D superstructure enclosing the project. This adds stability to a series of domed shapes which are a triangulated network of tubes with dual-layer inflated cushions on each side to provide in-plane stiffness. The outer cushion of the volume is translucent, giving the volume visual depth, the inner layer is a white blackout fabric which allows the inner space to be darkened during the day. A 2m x 2m structural flooring grid with adjustable legs provides a stable base for the project. This is weighted down with the two shipping containers the project is transported in, and additional water filled weights to limit the need to transport heavy ballast or foundations.

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The tubes are precision cut by a computer controlled CNC machine to give wrinklefree forms when inflated, even on the complicated geometry shown here. A pressurisation system of controlled fans placed in sound dampened compartment of one of the shipping containers provides stable air pressure to the structure. The entire structure can be inflated in 1 hour. Once inflated, the air tight tubes require only an occasional corrective inflation which uses little electricity and emits little sound. The final product has a solid look and feel. Images from a full scale mock-up of a similar inflated structure with inflated cushion are shown below.

The structural inflatable skin is specified as a fire retardant, PVC coated, UV stabilised, high tenacity, woven polyester base cloth (Ferrari Precontraint 402 or similar). The inflatable skin is 100% recyclable using the Texyloop process. Due to the constant monitoring of pressure by the fans, the structure will remain standing even if punctured or vandalized. Minor repairs to the skin can be made on-site, and larger segments can be repaired or replaced seamlessly in the factory.

Secondary materials for use in the floor system, furnishings, and exhibition panels should be chosen from the Green Guide for material specification to assess the environmental impact of the material. Where possible only materials with an ‘A’ rating should be chosen.

Project leader: Jim Dodson Project team: Aleksandra Danielak, Camilla Eduardsen, Ibrahim Elhayawan, Tom Gam Structural and Sustainability Engineers: Ramboll Whitbybird Inflatables consultant (phase two): Tectoniks

About this author
Cite: David Basulto. "The Yorkshire Diamond / Various Architects" 14 Feb 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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