pneumocell // Architekt Thomas Herzig /// Weyringergasse 29 / 17 1040 Vienna , Austria /// phone: +43 - 699 11 10 12 20. /// info@pneumocell.com

4. Berry-Pneu

5 The body of a larva consists of individual pneus

3.soap bubbles are pneus

The cell – the pneu

Form and stability resulting from the combination of an outer membrane and the inner pressure resulting from a fluid or gaseous medium.  Several cells can connect to form complex organisms of any kind. All  stuctures of living nature are based on this pneu-cell-principle

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6. The origin home for every human being is a pneu - the placenta

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2. Cell structure of leaf cross section

1. The single cell organism is a pneu and is the basic building block for all living forms

During the process of evolution the natural world has developed structures for optimal performance and efficiency.
There is no objective criteria for "beauty”, but any human being can intuitively understand the way biological constructions are optimised for survival, and consequently regards them as beautiful.
Also artificial structures shall freely develop according to their identity as a germinating seed.
In this case the designer’s inspiration combined with logical thought, imagination and knowledge metaphorically is a fertile ground for creation. Any further formalistic intention applied to the design would lead away from optimal solutions.

To find the right form, imagine yourself empty, free and as shapeless as the air.
Fill a balloon with air and it is the balloon.
When air fills a room it becomes the room.
When you breathe air into your lungs, it enters your bloodstream and becomes a part of yourself.
Air can be soft and barely perceivable or rip out trees with the fury of a hurricane.
Air cannot be carved or shaped or forced into a form.

In the case of a pneumatic construction two opposing factors are working together:
Flexible air and the flexible membrane.

However when we fully comprehend the nature of air, predetermined factors can be set in which the air in combination with the membrane independently assumes the desired shape. Air reveals itself as a building material with enormous potential with previously unexplored possibilities……

design principles

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Solid constructions break even under slight deformation. The direct transmission of pressure forces leads to buckling in the structure even when the plain material might in theory resist compressive strength.

Solid constructions fracture under heavy mechanical burdens, especially when there is a direct force.
With pneumatic constructions the inner pressure is distributed evenly on the outer membrane and the structures and converted into pure tensile forces, which cannot cause any buckling. The construction has a specific fluidity and reverts to its natural form the moment that any pressure is removed.

The inner pressure automatically seeks to find its own form, the outer surface assuming the minimum surface area by maximum volume.
This is the principle of the sphere. If the membrane differs considerably from the spherical form this results in differing pressures causing a cushion effect, whilst an excess of irregular pressure on the outer surface leads to an uneven pressure in the membrane which can cause folds and eventually rips in the surface. This is to be avoided in the development of pneumatic building structures.

Already in the 1950’s Frei Otto was experimenting with soap bubbles and through the process of independent naturally occurring forms already made important discoveries relating to cells (pneus). The outer surface assumes a form whereby the pressure in the membrane is minimized and is equivalent in all places. The larger the diameter of the bubble the larger the outer tension under the same air pressure. Therefore in the case of smaller bubbles the inner pressure is higher to retain the balance of the surface tension.

Already in the 1950’s Frei Otto was experimenting with soap bubbles and through the process of independent naturally occurring forms already made important discoveries relating to cells (pneus). The outer surface assumes a form whereby the pressure in the membrane is minimized and is equivalent in all places. The larger the diameter of the bubble the larger the outer tension under the same air pressure. Therefore in the case of smaller bubbles the inner pressure is higher to retain the balance of the surface tension.

When two or three bubbles adhere to each other they form an even wall between themselves (assuming the inner pressure is equivalent). The outer membranes result in a 120° angle. In the case of a grouping of four they develop an angle of 109°. This is the basis of all foam and these naturally occurring forms have a minimal surface area in relation to their volume.

Extremely large pneus such as air halls distort often drastically under asymmetrical pressure such as wind pressure and the distortion severely diminishes their load bearing capacity.

When the pneumatic construction is divided into a series of cells which distributes the volume, the constructions become more stable and less sensitive to pressure. Biological cells utilize this principle and Pneumocell uses this very same concept.