For The Roadshow: Architectural Landscapes of Canada -- "a series of linked, broad-based national events that focus architectural discourse in Canada at the level of the public, the profession, and the schools of architecture" -- participating architect Marc Boutin designed the Pneumatic Amplifier, a "massive inflatable projection device that [acts] as an architectural propaganda machine."
[Pneumatic Amplifier rendering | image source]
In late September and early October The Roadshow traversed Canada, from Vancouver, British Columbia to Halifax, Nova Scotia nearly 3,000 miles to the east, towing nine architects* and the Pneumatic Amplifier. Each architect spoke at each architecture school along the way, in a Pecha Kucha-like format of ten minute presentations. The Pneumatic Amplifier included built-in audio and visual capabilities that allowed the speakers to be heard and seen from afar.
[Pneumatic Amplifier front elevation | image source]
In addition to the inflatable object's use as a projection screen and speakers, its form and size guaranteed that a statement was made at each stop. Resembling a desktop computer from the non-too-distant past, the Pneumatic Amplifier is one of those designs that makes perfect sense, easily transportable when deflated and serving its necessary functions when inflated.
[Pneumatic Amplifier side elevation | image source]
According to The Roadshow's web page, "the goal of The Roadshow is to promote and facilitate an emergent and evolving discussion regarding contemporary architecture and design in Canada." Further, the organizers articulate an attempt at "rethinking ... the conception of a singular 'Canadian Architecture' in the face of the profound diversity that has characterized our contemporary lives."
[Pneumatic Amplifier section | image source]
As realized the Pneumatic Amplifier is not as taut or elegantly proportioned as the computer renderings, but it is no less effective. It creates a clear focus of attention and a presence for the nine architects briefly speaking to the students. Instead of contending with each school's own facilities and therefore lacking something tangible that would give consistency to The Roadshow, Boutin designed an inexpensive and lightweight object that acts as a hinge between the singularity and diversity of Canadian architecture today.
[Pneumatic Amplifier in Winnipeg | image source]
*Participating architects included: