Type: Temporary Performance Space

Client: Shiva Ltd.

Location: Hackney, London

: 2018/2019

AirDraft In collaboration with Thomas Randall-Page.

AirDraft is a inflatable structure that provides a space for performance and relaxation. In August 2018 it travelled the Regents Canal with a program of comedy, spoken word and live music. 

London’s canals have changed from conduits of industry and cargo to arteries of art, culture and leisure. AirDraft reflects this change by inserting a space of leisure and entertainment within the hull of an old steel barge.  

When viewed from the towpath AirDraft resembles a curiously overloaded cargo boat complementing and adding to Hoxton Docks’ existing ensemble of playful and artistic structures. When the membranes are deflated, the incognito AirDraft has ample clearance under even the lowest canal bridge allowing her to easily relocate and tour.

The inflatable is made of two membranes, a thicker fabric which produces a soft playful landscape for lounging around on, and a second far lighter membrane that provides shelter and enclosure. A strip of transparent fabric provides views of the surroundings while giving the inflatable the appearance of floating above the water.

The performance space is accessed by descending into the bow cabin where a bench and shoe rack invite the audience to remove shoes. From this tight, dark space a plastic curtain is lifted to reveal the dramatic and colourful interior.
Airdraft was the winning proposal of the 2018 Architecture Foundation Antepavilion competition. AirDraft has subsequently toured the Regents Canal and played host to countless events and performances from experimental opera to performance art, live bands to improvised electronica, and most recently it was converted into a temporary cinema for the London Short Film Festival.

Design - in collaboration with Thomas Randall-Page
Structural Engineer - AKT II
Fabricator - Cameron Balloons

Photography: Jim Stephenson

2018 Architecture Foundation Antepavilion Competition, Winner

Press and Publications:  
New Architects 4, Architecture Foundation, October ‘20
FABRICated, Routledge, Taylor & Francis
Architecture Today, August ‘19
Dezeen, August ‘19
ArchDaily, August ‘19
Architect’s Journal, August ‘19
Bubbletecture, Inflatable Architecture and Design, Phaidon, March ‘19
Wetter/Weather. Form, June ‘18

Aerodream. Inflatable Structures, Design and Architecture, 1950-2021. Centre Pompidou-Metz (August ‘21), Cite de l’Architecture 7 du patrimoine, Paris (October ‘21)

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