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The Cloud Tent

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:56 AM
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by Geoff Manaugh ( last modified Mar 24, 2011



[Images: "Artificial clouds" designed at Qatar University under the direction of Saud Abdul Ghani; images from a video hosted by the BBC].

"Artificial clouds" driven by solar-powered engines might be deployed at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to help keep the stadiums from overheating. Each cloud, as a short video hosted over at the BBC explains, "is constructed from an advanced, lightweight, and strong carbon-fiber material."
The interior of the cloud is injected with helium gas to make it float. The cloud hovers like a helicopter and is remotely controlled. In this way, the cloud hovers over the football ground, shielding it from direct sunlight and providing a favorable climatic environment. The cloud is also programmed to continuously change its shielding position according to the prevailing east-to-west path of the sun.
So much for roofs, then, if you can simply deploy artificial meteorological events in the form of robotic clouds at an estimated cost of $500,000 each...

[Images: "Artificial clouds" designed at Qatar University under the direction of Saud Abdul Ghani; images from a video hosted by the BBC].

After all, I suppose it makes sense that the next step in temporary event architecture will be a remote-controlled swarm of rearrangeable horizontal and vertical surfaces, forming ceilings, roofs, walls, floors, ramps, and stairways.

However, justifiable skepticism aside, there is something fantastically interesting in the suggestion that a regional architecture, whose formal and technical history includes several centuries' worth of portable tent design, would—and I exaggerate—leapfrog past the idea of stationary, permanent construction altogether and instead go for something like an on-demand spatial robotics, such as the "artificial clouds" seen here.

Are instantly deployable, remote-controlled sun shielding surfaces—unmanned aerial architecture, perhaps—a kind of unexpected next step in the evolution of tent design? Nomad caravans wander through the desert with strange, helium-filled wireless air pillows whirring quietly overhead. Perhaps they could even be Wifi hotspots. The ErgNet.

(Thanks to a tip from Wired's @rawfileblog. Earlier: Spatial Gameplay in Full-Court 3D).




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