Would You Work In This Viewless Bubble Building?

Would You Work In This Viewless Bubble Building?

The curvaceous forms of blobitecture may look like they’re malleable, but the swoops that define the modern style of lady Zaha, Future Systems, and ol’ Frank Gehry aren’t flexible at all. That’s not the case with the concept for the “Bubble Building” in Shanghai, an ambitious re-imagining of an existing structure that covers the windows in a series of nylon pockets that appear to breathe based on the amount of activity inside.

Interdisciplinary design studio 3Gatti prides itself on adding an artistic touch to its projects, offering playful takes on facades that run the gamut from umbrella-fronted pavilions to grass-covered telco towers. But this might be one of its most unique concepts yet — like the result of a strange orgy between between the Michelin Man, the Stay-Puft dude, a pillow fort and an office building.

Placing plants between the framed glass panes and the billowing antibacterial textile creates what the designers describe to ArchDaily as a “micro-greenhouse” effect, insulating the indoors and keeping temperatures moderate and comfortable year-round. And as if this bulbous exterior wasn’t eye-catching enough, sensors could control ventilation based on how many folks are occupying each room — meaning that the individual bumps would deflate when a specific space was unoccupied (that sounds like a sad, sad silhouette…).

The firm describes the design as a large-scale sculpture — and it is certainly a creative use of materials — but there is one downside that’s clear… or rather, not clear at all. There’s no view! It would be surreal to step into a building with white sheets obscuring all the hustle and bustle of the city, not to mention the lack of unfiltered natural light. If the science behind it holds up, would it be worth forgoing sight to the street for a highly efficient HVAC system?

Seems like a tough trade-off — after all, energy-conscious inhabitants would probably be better off retrofitting everything to Passive building standards. But are there other uses or locations for this idea that make more sense? [ArchDaily]