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Up, Up and Away: Building an Airship House

Link - article by Avi Abrams

H. G. Wells and Jules Verne Would Approve

Luke William Grove (originally from Brighton, United Kingdom) is currently building a floating "airship" house in Perpignan, France. This is not a humble abode, tied to Mother Earth with no hope of ever soaring above the mundane troubles. This is a full-blown airship marvel, designed by Timon Sager, a talented visionary from Switzerland - and having every hope of completion within very near future.

(all images credit: Timon Sager, used by permission)

This is truly inspiring! A creative blend of dirigible and modern house (suspended with durable cables in the air), which looks like it floated out of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

The Wolke 7 model is the whale-shaped zeppelin with highly sculptured air balloons, and a luxury house "gondola" placed right between them:

The "house in the sky" includes multiple decks, fully-appointed bedrooms, a state-of-the-art entertainment center... and a swimming pool. (That is if you like to gaze down on helpless earth-bound citizens and pastoral landscapes gliding past, as you luxuriate in a bubble bath). Or imagine taking our a silver spyglass and laying out navigation, while sipping your martini and securing lounge pillows against the stray wind. This all sounds very H. G. Wells and Jules Verne to us.

The pilot (or house navigator) must be really careful where he (or she) plans to land, and perhaps be diligent to secure airspace permissions from local air traffic controllers. However, it does not seem like this airship house is going to fly very high, so should not interfere with traditional air traffic. Different countries may have different laws governing air travel, however.

(Lockheed Martin's recent awesome blimp HALE-D "high altitude long endurance demonstrator")

Check the building and funding progress at Luke's Facebook page. They also have plans to house an avant garde art events, called The 9Tails Performance Art Theater Collective - sort of like a "Burning Man" Art Event in the clouds!

("Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS", designed by Terreform 1 + KARV - giant jellyfish in the sky with dangling seating)

Luke William Grove writes to us with the latest updates on the project:

"We want to crowd fund the purchase of a desktop 3D printer and enough plastic filament to enable the upgrade to a printer that is big enough to print a house! This is going to be spectacular, and it will only work if YOU get involved, so ignore your inner cynic, open your heart and mind - and come be a part of something extraordinary.... We dare you!"

In the spirit of Zeppelin-filled Sky Captain's World of Tomorrow, here is a couple of artistic visions to inspire:

Prepare to roll out!

(image credit: Don Aguirre)

Airships do come with very classy pilots, after all:

(image credit: Don Aguirre)

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.




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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"having every hope of completion within very near future"

Not if it uses helium.

Anonymous Nick said...

This has always been one of my greatest hopes to build. Can't wait to see the finished product

Anonymous Ken D said...

Just about the silliest idea I have ever seen for more reasons than I am wsilling to type.

Blogger MstrFool said...

There is still helium around. But anything that uses helium for lift can also use hydrogen. It's a matter of preference and/or regulations. As far as it being silly, why would his project have to fit any ones sensibilities other then his own? If every one stuck to doing only the things others felt were sensible, this would be a sad and boring world, IMHO. Best of luck with the project.

Blogger Sean said...

This design is unworkable for several reasons.

First off, did anyone do any lift calculations? It'd be difficult with such absurdly convoluted gas bags. In any event, I don't think that there'd be enough lift there to get that house off of the ground.

Second, expanding on the gas envelopes, the long shape and awkward curves would necessitate an internal framework. This would serve to increase the weight of the structure past any chance of viability.

Third. Look at the bracing. There appears to be a single solid brace between the two envelopes, above the rear end of the 'house'. There are, however, support cables running from points all along the envelopes down to the house. These would tend to pull the envelopes together and, without any bracing between them, they would collide, deform, and probably rupture.

Fourth. What the heck happens to this mess in any sort of inclement weather? They give no details on the engines (more on that in a second), but I doubt that this flying laundry rack could make 25mph. You're certainly not avoiding any storms at that speed.

Finally. Power. These drawings show a series of fans along the bottom of the hulls. What powers them? Electric? Holy crap, how big are your batteries? Gas? Again; massive, heavy internal framework or those crazy gasbags get shaken apart.

It seems like every architect and 'designer' out there feels the need to, at some point, take a crack at working up an airship. I wish I could say that this was the worst one out there. Sadly, it's not even close.

PS: SWIMMING POOL?! WATER. WEIGHS. EIGHT. BLOODY. POUNDS. TO. THE. GALLON! So, tiny 1,000 gallon pool (roughly a 5x5x5 ft cube) would require more than 128000 cubic feet of helium to lift just it. That's a sphere roughly 63ft across. JUST FOR THE POOL.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Awesome comment Sean. I will pass this along.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sean I fully agree with everything you say. After fifty years in my own profession I have seen some of the worst unworkable designs put on paper by architects and designers. Many have little knowledge of the areas they propose putting their ideas into.

Blogger John H. Harris said...

I agree that the pool is silly, but I could see a lot of carbon fiber making up the internal framework, which would allow for weight savings. That said, the gasbags would need to be a lot bigger than they're shown in the images. Still, it's a cool concept.


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