Theaterhaus Jena Inflatable Pavilion

25 September, 2009

Theaterhaus Jena Inflatable Pavilion

A collaborative project by the Architectural Association Interprofessional Studio.

By Ioanna Symeonidou

Greek version

The AA Interprofessional Studio is a new field of activity that has been recently initiated at the Architectural Association (AA) in London. Working in between art, architecture and performance, the AAIS can reach professions, create partnerships and stimulate students from different backgrounds and nationalities. This newly established course has run for the first time during the academic year 2008-2009 and has invited professionals from creative disciplines as diverse as product design, the fine arts and curating to work and study within the AA on actual projects of various kinds and scales. The AAIS operates as an interdisciplinary project office.


Theaterhaus Jena inflatable pavilion

This year the AAIS, in collaboration with the Theaterhaus Jena and the Emergent Technologies and Design programme (AAEmTech), constructed one of the largest projects ever built by students at the AA: a fully functional 20m x 20m x 8m public lobby and performance space for the Theatre of Jena, as well as a series of events, installations, performances and projections related to the festival and the building.

Projection on the inflatable building by Adam Furman

In a very short period, from January till May of this year, the collaboration of AAIS and AAEmTech lead to the design and construction of a 300sqm temporary theatre extension for the original Walter Gropius Theaterhaus in Jena Germany. The new inflatable building manufactured by Inflate, a London based company, was erected in only three days.

 Night view of the pavilion - Dragonfly wing pattern

The pattern on the inflatable structure was derived from the dragonfly wing morphology. The main veins were translated into inflatable tubular beams that formed the structural system of the building. A translucent membrane was stretched in the intervals between the "veins" modulating the light penetration in the interior of the pavilion.
The building marked the theatre entrance for three weeks, working as an airy and luminous contrast to the interior of the existing theatre, linking it to the public and the city of Jena. During this time AAIS participants created a series of performances for the "crash boom bau" scenographie festival in relation to the structure.

The exterior of the inflatable pavilion

Youth Theatre performing on the Game Court created by William Martyr and Jan Brueggemeier
Performance by Laura Boffi

The AA Interprofessional Studio (AAIS) is dedicated to the research and implementation of interprofessional work processes throughout the creative fields. It brings together many experts from relevant environments to look at correlations within the professions. Architectural projects are often influenced by other creative disciplines and forms of knowledge, but not directly derived from or driven by individuals working within these fields. The AAIS reverses this relationship.

In this period of increased globalisation and a continually expanding field of knowledge within almost all professions, teamwork between disciplines becomes essential. In contrast to the interdisciplinary team model of loosely linked collaborations, in which everyone works within their own field of expertise, interprofessional teams work together on the same tasks within the same environment. In this way team members actively share their skills. Thus participants are simultaneously teachers and students challenging and reappropriating each other's best practice.

The AA Interpofessional Studio is a postgraduate course at the Architectural Association in London that brings together young professionals of various disciplines. The programme still accepts applications for the academic year 2009-2010. More information can be found at the school's and the programme's websites:  and

Event and Project collaborations:

Inflatable structure with AA Emtech - Mohamed Makki, Kostis Karatzas, Maria Mingallon, Pavlos Schizas, Ioanna Symeonidou

Theaterhaus Jena - Marco Brehme, Inflate - Nick Crosbie, Will Grindall, Webb Yates - Steve Webb supported by Cultural Programme Germany (Kulturstiftung des Bundes)

Festival performances and conversation sessions in collaboration with various directors and AAIS participants - Ulrike Haage and Jan Brueggemeier, Emma Howes with Takako Hasegawa, Heiko Kalmbach, Marsha Ginsberg with Parastoo Anoushahpour, Adam Furman, Laura Boffi, KateMacTiernan, Catharine Patha, Heather Lyons, Will Martyr with the Young theatre group.

AAIS Participants2009 - Parastoo Anoushehpour, Laura Boffi, Jan Hendrik Brueggemeier, Adam Furman, Takako Hasegawa, Heather K Lyons, William Martyr, Kate McTiernan, Catharine Patha

Course Director - Theo Lorenz, Studio Master - Tanja Siems


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