A unique classroom concept brings new life to typical city dumpsters by providing a mobile space for learning. The brainchild of New York-based architect John Locke and his Department of Urban Betterment, the Inflato Dumpster consists of a membrane made of lightweight materials and clear polyethylene, an inexpensive, biodegradable material that allows views both into and out of the space. The street side is primarily gold and silver mylar with small holes to let dappled light in. The sidewalk side consists of lightweight, faceted white Tyvek building wrap which provides a surface for projecting film and data.
Dumpsters were purposely chosen to house the learning spaces to challenge the way in which something typically associated with waste could be used for something exciting and new. As public space continues to become privatized, the large-scale urban intervention offers a new kind of gathering space.
Inflated, the membrane contains 2,000 cubic feet of volume. It features 165 square feet of enclosed space and measures 17 feet high by 12 feet, six inches wide and is 24 feet long. It’s secured in the 23-foot by eight-foot dumpster by being tied down.
Between 2012 and 2015, the Inflato Dumpster was installed numerous times at locations in Manhattan and Queens. During one three-day exhibition, more than 500 people visited the installation, where they enjoyed a number of events and workshops including a musical performance, a documentary screening and a 3-D printing and modeling work session. For more information, visit www.gracefulspoon.com.