Cloud City by Studio Lindfors


The results of the What if New York City. . . Design Competition for Post-Disaster Provisional Housing have been announced, with this proposal by Studio Lindfors among the projects in the Selected Entries category. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

The competition sought proposals for temporary housing solutions in the event of New York City being struck by a catastrophic coastal storm.

Cloud City would house residents in a series of pre-fabricated, helium-filled balloons, that would float temporarily above the flood-stricken city.

See Geoff Manaugh's take on this story over on BLDGBLOG

More airships on Dezeen:
Manned Cloud by Jean-Marie Massaud
Strato Cruiser "lifestyle Zeppelin"
Aeroscraft ML866 hybrid aircraft

Here is a full explanation of Cloud City from Studio Lindfors:


Though perhaps an unusual proposal, CLOUD CITY is literally an uplifting experience that will allow communities to remain intact as they pull themselves out of the rubble. CLOUD CITY is a continuation of the dream captured in the built form of the Empire State Building, the spire of which was constructed as a landing platform for dirigibles. The dream of floating amongst the clouds above a magical and ever changing cityscape.

The concept for CLOUD CITY is based on the desire to allow people to remain in their community as close to their homes as possible. This would allow residents to remain an active part in the rebuilding of their community, while fostering a sense of security. The way to achieve this is to literally float a layer of provisional housing over the damaged or destroyed portions of the City. Once airborne, the floating homes allow construction crews below to work unimpeded, speeding up the recovery effort. This in turn reduces cost overruns and unnecessary delays.

Inflatable homes would be pre-fabricated and stored in warehouses for deployment as required. Each home consists of three basic components: an inflatable bladder, a rigid core, and a metal and wood platform. The bladder would consist of two compartments, filled with pressurized helium (which is non-combustible). The pressurized gas would give shape to the tailored and stitched fabric shell, creating an open living space within. Made from recycled polyester fabric, the balloon has a large surface area suitable for mounting of flexible solar panels for generating electricity. Within this living space is a rigid core which contains an efficient kitchenette and bathroom, along with plumbing and electrical services. The 300sf living space is open, and can be configured in many ways, with up to three bedroom spaces suitable for a family of four.

The homes can be rapidly deployed with minimal site preparation. They are intended to ‘plug in’ to existing utility services, and can be deployed by a team of four workers in roughly an hour. Once in place, access to the floating home is gained by lowering the entire home to the anchorage point (either an old rooftop, or temporary boardwalks). A keyed hand crank winch would guide the home down to allow for the mobility impaired to gain easy access via a gangplank. The homes are minimally appointed, in an effort to reduce overall fabrication costs. They are fully reusable, and can be stored indefinitely.

About Studio Lindfors

Studio Lindfors is a design firm based in New York, New York, founded in 2006 by Ostap Rudakevych. We are committed to working closely with our clients to achieve projects of design excellence. The firm is versed in a wide range of project types, while remaining dedicated to the pursuit of speculative proposals that explore the realm of the fantastic. Most recently Studio Lindfors completed an exhibit design for the ‘Design for the Other 90%’ exhibition installed at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Currently Studio Lindfors is developing drawings for the ‘House of Inconvenience’ as well as the entirely un-plugged ‘Free House’.

Posted on Friday February 8th 2008 at 10:33 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • john

    did you just nick that off BLDGBLOG?
    now thats a good blog.

  • What a fascinating idea, and such beautiful images to represent it!

    I agree with the theory of regeneration being improved if people remain in their community and can be involved in the work. Although I don’t know if I’d want to hang, or in this case float, around (above) the aftermath of a disaster – but thats no reflection on the project’s design!

  • r.n

    Americans are good at drama and OTT solutions…i mean ‘plan of action(s)’, very CG Hollywood…Zzzz

  • pacharan

    There were another very interesting proposals in the competition, like the one recycling b-52 to build towers by Concorde Studio ( I hope you publish that one here too.

  • SeBo

    I find it quit a dangerous and adventurous idea, not only because the “homes” in a catastrofic wheather would seriously risk the life of their inhabitants (strong winds,etc), but also because the cost of such means of rescue would be very high.

  • entrance

    how to enter ?
    they say : ‘A keyed hand crank winch would guide the home down to allow for the mobility impaired to gain easy access via a gangplank. ‘

    that i would like to see, …

  • fran

    Una pregunta… Como se llena un globo con helio si las calles estan destruidas o inundadas como sucedió en New Orleans? Cuantos globos pueden ser llenados por un camión? Si en New Orleans tomó días que la ayuda llegase; sería complicado pensar que se tendrán camiones en los primeros días que es el momento en el que más se necesitan este tipo de casas.

  • Joaquín Béjares Henry

    Me parece un proyecto sin un analisis basico de psicologia humana post desastre. Claramente es un proyecto teorico-estetico.
    Si hay horas hombre invertidas en un proyecto que apunta a solucionar los temas de vivienda de emergencia post catastrofe, ojala que sea a conciencia… mucho ruido pocas nueces.