Well, this gives a whole new meaning to the term “dumpster diving.” In Morningside Heights, at 109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the New York-based architect John Locke, of the Department of Urban Betterment, has created “inflato dumpster,” a blow-up urban education classroom inside of a typical city dumpster.
The design team was inspired by the “contemporary fascination with transforming existing street structures into utilitarian spaces for habitation,” which led to their combining the seemingly invisible lightness of the inflatable material with the hard, gritty, steel dumpster.
The inflatable membrane is made of clear polyethylene–a cost-effective, biodegradable, transparent plastic–and mylar–commonly used in emergency hiking blankets and spacecraft construction. It covers 165 square feet of enclosed space and has a built-in door for access.
But you’re probably wondering what goes on inside the dumpster. Currently, workshops, documentary screenings and musical performances are offered for free to the public. The films explore the themes of authenticity, music and city life and challenge the idea of a traditional theater.
Creator John Locke, who was able to realize his vision through a $3,700 Kickstarter campaign, explains how he arrived at the idea: “As public space in New York becomes increasingly privatized and commodified, The Inflato Dumpster seeks to counter that tendency by serving as an open, engaging street-level structure that acts as a mobile learning laboratory.” He sees the inflatable dumpsters popping up around the city, so keep your eye out.
Images via Jackie Caradonio / Department of Urban Betterment
Neighborhoods : Morningside Heights