Bubble Shade / Valerie Schweitzer Architects

Inspired by the playful soapy bubbles of a child’s toy wand, this architectural kit-of-parts creates domes of colorful fabric meant to uplift urban shade-seekers in overheated areas.

Clear-stained aluminum pods with wide openings and oculi at their roofs provide a sequence of refuges for a park, urban plaza or backyard. They are modules that may increase in number depending on the size of the site and the need for shade.

The design is particularly suited to year-round hot climates as a permanent installation.

Exploiting the tensile properties of metal and fabric, the pods are made of three sizes of welded metal rings that create a skeleton for the fabric. The fabric is then clipped onto metal grommets as seen in the shop drawings. The tensile super structure will be welded (Mig) together at the site or in spherical quadrants in the shop and delivered for final assembly. (Colored plastic may be substituted for fabric). The design uses multiple geometric shapes and colors that allow one to see the city or landscape through a kaleidoscopic filter.

It is currently being considered by the New York Department of Parks and Recreation to shade one of its parks.

Bubble shade is at once simple and complex because of the interstitial spaces that are created by the various-shaped fabric set against the sky. As one observer notes, it’s like “intergalactic citrus”.

This project was a runner-up in the international 2017 Future of Shade competition.

About Valerie F. Schweitzer Architects

Valerie F. Schweitzer Architects aims to construct inventive spaces that are not just visually arresting, but communicate a central purpose. That purpose might be the light-drenched transporting dimensions of an artist’s studio, or the playfulness of a Los Angeles apartment building.

With her small team, Schweitzer creates bold structures that attempt the shoring up of the human spirit. Principal V.F. Schweitzer’s residential buildings are also efforts to improve and integrate the fabric of the surrounding streets. With her additional training as a painter, Schweitzer integrates textiles, color and lighting into a synchronized assemblage, widening the application of architecture. Schweitzer studied architecture at Princeton University for her Bachelors of Art degree, and UCLA for her Masters of Architecture, receiving honors at both institutions. Her firm is based in New York City.

For more information: www.schweitzerarchitecture.com

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