Excerpt: AIR SQUARE is a transportable venue that activates underused urban spaces by bringing them purpose and vibrant public life. It responds to the need to alleviate climate change issues by tackling overexposed heat islands and the lack of green and livable public spaces. The upper ring is an extensive shading system that mitigates, cools, and delivers refuge from the heat. At night it provides illumination to dark and less safe urban corners.
[Text as submitted by the Architects] AIR SQUARE is a transportable venue that activates underused urban spaces by bringing them purpose and vibrant public life. It responds to the need to alleviate climate change issues by tackling overexposed heat islands and the lack of green and livable public spaces. The upper ring is an extensive shading system that mitigates, cools, and delivers refuge from the heat. At night it provides illumination to dark and less safe urban corners.
It is a placemaker improving the quality of the urban environment in a punctuated manner. It contributes to building a resilient blue-green city, bringing spatial quality, living environment, health, biodiversity, and property value. Finally, it raises awareness of climate change adaptation, facilitating and accelerating the further implementation of lengthy climate adaptation measures, such as changes in spatial development, infrastructure, construction, services, public space, and residents’ safety.
INCLUSIVE: It is built for diversity and equality and ensures barrier-free access and permeability within the city flow.
MODULAR, DURABLE, REUSABLE: Made of CNC cut plywood planks with minimum waste in cut-outs. The foundation is a modular system composed of vertical legs and horizontal benches. Components are bolted together to form a circular load-bearing structure providing stability to the body.
ADAPTABLE: Positionable benches enable multiple functions and programs such as public functions, performances, farmers’ markets, or serving as an all-in-one general furniture with seating, lighting, and shading in one AIR SQUARE creates a space that boosts the quality of life in our cities and ensures more fulfilling ways of living together.
The body combines two main parts: a structural foundation at the base, and an inflatable component at the top, measuring 14 mt in diameter and 6 mt in height. Separate components are packed and ready to go, together with most hardware and assembly instructions to assist the construction process.
Made of CNC cut plywood planks with the minimum waste in cut-outs, the foundation is designed as a modular system composed of one vertical leg element and one horizontal arm. Those two components interlock together to build the circular load-bearing structure of the ring, which provides stability to the body. The circular shape was chosen because of its intrinsic ability to regulate contrary forces within itself, making it the most self-stabilising of the elementary geometric shapes. The dynamicity of the continuous circle can withstand any load and therefore only needs one contra-force to reinforce it, which is provided through the textile belt cross.
Also, the base functions as the anchor between the upper ring and the ground through a fastening system that makes it attached during wind flutters. Lastly, it is raised at a height for people to pass through it, making it accessible and permeable within the city flow.
he upper ring is designed as a shading system for public spaces. In response to the issue of overheating cities around the globe, the ring generates a large surface to hide from the sun, cooling down urban areas.
The vertical and open shader avoids issues related to having a roof (underblow, heat accumulation, structural issues). To create a large urban surface to shade, a light material was used that can be easy to build and unbuild. It is light, and it can resist strong weather conditions. Also, the circular shape allows for a more extensive reach of shading compared to a straight wall, making it a sun-protected space. Through the dark hours, the inflatable switches function and become a light diffuser, illuminating dark areas of the city that often feel unsafe to walk through. This generates a sense of care and belonging to the space, leading to improved security in the location.