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Pop Up Drop Off – Inflatable Hypar Structure

Research Open House 2023

Robert Lee Brackett III and Duks Koschitz,

The Pop Up Drop Off advocates for design activism and raises awareness of film plastic waste by using repurposed materials to make a lightweight inflatable structure. A colorful patchwork of recycled material draws attention to how much film plastic we use in our daily lives. The project is based on a design by a team of Pratt undergraduate architecture students developed in a d.r.a.-sponsored Design Studio led by Duks Koschitz and Robert Brackett in the fall of 2021. The project was further developed and produced by Robert and Duks for NYCxDesign 2022 in partnership with Design Pavilion and Pneuhaus. The d.r.a. is continuing to develop research into self-forming lightweight pneumatic structures for architecture and sustainable geometry.

The Pop Up’s double saddle shape—created by a pattern consisting of concentric square tubes—operates with dual functions: the concave spaces act as collection areas while the convex spaces form the roof of the structure. The origami pattern of concentric pleats resulting in a hyperbolic paraboloid shape, a hypar, translates from paper folding into inflatable structures. The corollary between paper folding and inflatables is not obvious, but recent work on this type of 2D to 3D transformation has shown how planar patterned sheets can be used to make stiff inflatable shells (Siéfert, E. et al. 2020). The research question is related to the automatic 3D forming of flat assemblies that are welded together in 2D.

Given the method of welding together two planar patterned sheets of plastic, which 3D configurations can be achieved that are similar to a hyperbolic paraboloid?