Modern Living: The Rise of the Bubble

Like blisters rising on a sunburned skin, bubble buildings are popping up all over the landscape. An architectural curiosity only a decade ago, the air-supported, plastic bubbles are rapidly becoming a familiar sight, appearing−and sometimes disappearing−overnight amidst city skyscrapers, in suburban shopping centers and on country fields.

The U.S. Pavilion at Osaka's Expo '70 was a bubble building. Harvard has an air-supported field house−a huge structure that covers 45,000 sq. ft. and allows athletes to work out while blizzards rage outside. Columbia has a similar structure. In Manhattan last month, an air-supported building housed the fast-paced musical Orlando Furioso in Bryant Park....

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