Date
21 August 2017
A green environment within a giant enclosed ‘bubble’. Is this the solution to the pollution nightmare, especially in China? Photo: Orproject
A green environment within a giant enclosed ‘bubble’. Is this the solution to the pollution nightmare, especially in China? Photo: Orproject

Bubble wrap solution to China air woes

Want to escape the choking air pollution and breathe easy? How about living in a giant inflatable ‘bubble’?

Yes, that’s the solution an architecture firm is offering to people fed up with the bad air in cities, especially in smog-infested metros in China.

In a project named aptly Bubbles, London-based Orproject has come out with designs for gigantic inflatable bubbles that would canopy over parks and developments, providing fresh air.

In Beijing, the company has put forward a proposal to build a lightweight dome on top of an area that would house a botanical garden. The air inside the park would be clean and temperature and humidity would be controlled throughout the year.

The buildings surrounding the park, which will be connected to the controlled air system, can house apartments, offices and shops, and also offer sports or medical facilities which make specific use of the healthy air.

Construction is said to cost about US$660 per meter, which may be a deterrent for some municipalities but not for a problem-plagued capital city like Beijing. 

Rajat Sodhi, who spearheads the project, says it’s a pity that people have to wear face masks while venturing outdoors nowadays. “We’re not meant to live like this,” he says.

The idea of living within a transparent dome was most famously proposed by the late Buckminster Fuller in 1960.

While the fantasy could turn into reality, will it put an end to the urban nightmare?

Certainly not, as it will be just a partial solution catering to the wealthy. For a real breakthrough, pollution needs to be curbed at the source, a thing which Chinese authorities only know too well

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SK/RC

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