NYC dumpster turned inflatable classroom for urban education
all photos by jackie caradonio / courtesy of department of urban betterment

 

 

 

at 109th street and amsterdam avenue in manhattan, new york based architect john locke of the department of urban betterment, in collaboration with joaquin reyes, has realized — following a kickstarter campaign previously featured on designboom — ‘inflato dumpster’, an blow-up classroom installed inside of a dumpster. the urban project includes 165 square feet of enclosed space, canvassed with an inflatable membrane made by TW2M fabrication from a combination of two lightweight materials: clear polyethylene — an inexpensive, common and biodegradable plastic material that allows views both from and out to the street, and mylar — used in both emergency hiking blankets and spacecraft.

inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster
the classroom is installed at 109th street and amsterdam avenue in manhattan

 

 

 

the contemporary fascination with transforming existing street structures into utilitarian spaces for habitation led the team to explore the invisible lightness of the inflatable material in relationship to the hard steel of the dumpster. this juxtaposition of heavy/light and old/new became a key hot-air-balloon-like diagram of the solid base paired with the weightless membrane.

inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster
the urban project includes 165 square feet of enclosed space

 

 

workshops, documentary screenings and musical performances take place for free with the publicly accessible volume. while the presented films comprise a series of challenging documentaries about authenticity, music and living in the city, viewers and audience members additionally took away the notion that a theater can go beyond the boundaries of a cinema, and can be a valid means of projection and expression.

inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster
two lightweight materials comprise the structures exterior skin

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the inflation process

inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster
a gold interior illuminates the space

inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster
filmmaker simone varano sets up for a screening of her documentary series dealing with music and culture

inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster

workshop attendees learn about modelling and building models using a consumer grade 3D printer

inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster

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inflatable classroom installed inside of a NYC dumpster
a diverse mix of neighbors and passersby are meant to interact with the installation