The „Living Air Bridge“ project is a study that examined how pneumatic supporting structures can be used to create Baubotanik structures. These studies are based on the example of a footbridge. According to the plant addition method, the growth pattern of the banyan tree served as a model for the development process. Therefore the supporting function of the host tree is taken over by air-supported structures.
The bridge which spans about twenty meters apriori consists of a pressure stabilizing air beam, a Tensairity® beam, with other smaller tire structures arranged around it. The very thin, tall and flexible plants partly root in the ground on the banks of the spanned river and in the beginning partly also in hydroponic plant bags located on the tire structures. They create a lattice-like structure around the outer pneu structures.
01 Interior view of the living bridge
02 Part of the hollow girder
03 Principle of the temporary pneumatic support
Tire structures used as a temporary support offer the possibility to adapt their load capacity gradually onto the developing plant structure: As soon as the load capacity of the plant structure increases the air pressure can be lowered whereby the stiffness declines and the plants are forced to take on more capacity load. And when the “Air Beams” are not needed any more they can be removed and give way from their occupied space. As soon as a running surface is installed the bridge can be used. Like a self-supporting arbour walkway it spannes over the river and the human is amidst a living structure; in a space created and supported by plants.
The building was suggested to be placed at the german-polish boundary river Neiße. The intension was to sympolize the european unification process by the “growing together of the banks“.