June 19, 2017 - BSA Space - The New Inflatable Moment
e-flux Architecture
June 19, 2017
June 19, 2017

BSA Space

Graham Stevens, Desert Cloud, 1972-2004. Courtesy of Graham Stevens and William McLean.




The New Inflatable Moment
May 3–September 3, 2017

BSA Space
290 Congress St #200
Boston, MA 02210

Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / #BSASpace / #BSAFoundation


The New Inflatable Moment (through September 3, 2017) explores inflatable structures used in architecture, art, and engineering since the emergence of the hot air balloon. While celebrating their practical applications, the exhibition focuses on the role some of these revolutionary works of imagination have had in envisioning utopia.

Inspired by the 1998 exhibition and book, The Inflatable Moment: Pnuematics and Protest in '68 by Marc Dessauce and The Architectural League of New York, BSA Space examines key historical moments during which inflatables kindle visionary aspirations. Through a series of installations, photographs, videos, and models, The New Inflatable Moment contextualizes the renewed interest in inflatable structures for architectural and artistic  experimentation as expressed among established, emerging, and student architects and artists. Featuring Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Grimshaw, Anish Kapoor/Arata Isozaki, Otto Piene, Graham Stevens, Chico MacMurtrie, and raumlaborberlin, among others. It will also showcase the earlier, pioneering visions of Buckminster Fuller and Frei Otto; the utopian collectives of the late 1960s such as Haus-Rucker-Co, Utopie, and Ant Farm; and the use of inflatable technology for space exploration by Foster and Partners and ILC Dover.

Curated by Mary E. Hale AIA and Katarzyna Balug, The New Inflatable Moment anchors the present moment with an interactive timeline informing the parallel evolution of the medium with key moments of sociopolitical change. “With this exhibition, we revisit the moment of the 1960s explored by Dessauce to suggest that utopian thought is re-emerging today in architecture and art as evidenced in projects involving inflatables,” say Hale and Balug.

Laura Wernick FAIA, chair of the BSA Foundation adds: “The exhibition reveals some of the most visionary architectural minds working with new methods of display and communication. Its premiere at BSA space will empower designers to similarly think and work in new ways to create a better future and motivate the general public to believe in it.”

The New Inflatable Moment is on display at BSA Space, (290 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210), through September 3, 2017. Admission is free. Opening hours: 10am–6pm on weekdays, and 10am—5pm on weekends and holidays.

About BSA Space   
BSA Space, Boston’s leading cultural institution for architecture and design, is home to the Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA) and the BSA Foundation. The BSA is one of the oldest chapters of the American Institute of Architects. The BSA Foundation, a charitable organization, supports activities that illuminate the ways that design improves the quality of our lives. All exhibitions at BSA Space are supported by the BSA Foundation. BSA Space is open Monday through Friday from 10am–6pm, and on weekends and holidays from 10am–5pm. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information visit architects.org/bsaspace.

Curators’ bios
Mary Hale AIA
’s passion for inflatable structures began as a student at MIT, where she developed her first inflatable structure: The Monumental Helium Inflatable Wearable Floating Body Mass. Since then, she has continued to explore wearable inflatable structures, at multiple scales from clothing to shelters. One notable project, Itinerant Home, is an installation commissioned by the New Orleans Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for their annual Descours Festival. In addition to artistic practice, Mary has been deeply involved in organizing design-oriented community events, exhibitions, and teaching architectural design studios at the Boston Architectural College and at Northeastern. Mary founded ROYHALE Design in 2014 as a channel for these projects. Mary’s work has been recognized in international art, design, and technology publications ranging from the MIT Technology Review to Arcade to Clam, a Parisian fashion and culture magazine. Mary holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Brown University, and a Masters of Architecture from MIT.

Katarzyna Balug explores the place of imagination in the city, and the possibility of utopia in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Inspired by science-fictional worlds and informed by studies in urban history and theory, her work involves research, curation, performance and collaborative installations in public space. Those installations are often inflatable. Past projects have been shown at the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz, Poland, at the Boston Arts Festival, and at FARO Tláhuac in Mexico City, among others. She is co-founder of Department of Play, a lost city department that facilitates collaboration between residents and urban systems through momentary fictions in public space. Kate is a PhD student in urban and architectural history and theory at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

BSA Space
Share - The New Inflatable Moment
  • Share