Bubble Buildings: 13 Structures You’ll Wish You Could Pop

Would the satisfaction that comes with popping bubble wrap scale up as the bubbles get larger and larger, until they’re big enough to cover entire buildings? These blobby bubble-shaped buildings tempt us to find out. Inflatable translucent structures offer space for gardens, bathrooms, museum extensions and even entire parks enclosed to keep out air pollution in a literal representation of the term ‘living in a bubble.’

SKUM Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG

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Named ‘SKUM,’ the Danish word for ‘foam,’ this blob-shaped structure is an inflatable balloon pavilion illuminated with colored LED lights by Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG for the CHART Art Fair in Copenhagen. “The idea of using a bouncy castle as material came about because one can create any kind of structure with the material. It is inflatable and easy to pack down and inflate again, but it has been much harder to produce than we thought. The manufacturer almost gave up, and we were under a massive time pressure, but the result is the most beautiful you can imagine.”

Real Bubble Building by DUS Architects

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Now here’s a structure that isn’t just bubble-shaped – it’s actually made out of real soap bubbles. Dutch firm DUS created the pavilion in a Rotterdam square using metal frames in five-sided steel pools to create massive geometric bubbles you can stand inside, calling it “the world’s most temporary pavilion.”

Bubble Extension for the Hirschhorn Museum

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The firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro was all set to add a wild looking inflatable enhancement to the Smithsonian’s Hirshchorn Museum, creating a venue for two months of special programming, but the design was suspended due to costs. You might imagine that a large translucent fabric ‘bubble’ swelling up out of the museum’s internal courtyard would be less expensive than temporarily roofing it and adding additional covered space along the exterior, but the design was pretty complicated, and the museum board was concerned that costly additional issues with its installation would come up.

Transparent Mobile Bathroom

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Would you want to take a bath in a totally transparent bubble with a panoramic vista? This inflatable bathroom pod is intended to be placed in the woods or in rooftops as the ‘ultimate bathroom experience,’ designed after polling groups of people about their dream bathroom. The inflatable structure includes a tub, chair, dresser and basin.

Garden Bubbles for Paris in Winter

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This pop-up art installation in Paris by Amaury Gallon inserted lush greenery back into the city in the middle of winter, providing passersby with 15 minutes of relaxation, beauty and fresh air. Four bubble gardens were placed on city sidewalks, each filled with a different type of plants, including a ‘jungle’ and hundreds of orchids.