The death on 3 June 1999 of Sir Christopher Cockerell, the inventor of the Hovercraft, recalled the rapid design spin-off that this invention caused.
Primarily, it was the re-realisation, in the minds of designers, of the obvious: AIR PRESSURE AND ITS CONTROL, SYSTEMS, PRODUCTS AND HYBRID STRUCTURING. In architecture such repeat performancing, is regrettably always needed.
The world's first passenger- carrying hovercraft - SRN1, British Hovercraft corporation
Wall element with pneumatically operated folding film K inside the chamber L, on the left in 'transmission' position T, on the right in 'reflection' position R. (Markings: yellow = transparent film; green = reflecting metal coating; red arrows = solar radiation; dotted arrows = ground-radiation).
Wall design incorporating cylindrical air chambers P1, reflecting the total direct insolation up to a maximum angle of altitude d. They are partly metallised and at the same time transmit the diffuse sky radiation. If the chambers P2 are inflated at the same time that chambers P1 are deflated, the wall element is highly transmissive.
Electrostatically controlled wall design: A = transparent, conductive outside layer; B = insulating, transparent support layer; C = metallised folding layer. If A and C are equally charged electrically, C assumes a vertical position (thus realising full transparency); if the charge is opposite, C will cling to B (thus realising complete reflection)
Produced through annoyance with both the superficiality of coach design and also the volumetric waste of empty coaches in storage and transportation. An exercise in hybrid structuring, including multi-pressured air structures. Utilisation of traction plant for air-conditioning and pressurisation.
Controlled balloon lift
A further example of using inflated structures in groups. In this case the helium-filled balloons become a controllable sky hook enabling offshore, two-way loading of heavy goods where the construction of a port would be unjustified
Final thought: One wonders when generic modification of timber will occur - again?