This publication presents the NSA Muscle project by ONL (Kas Oosterhuis and Ilona Lénárd) that combined commercial pneumatics and virtual control technology in new ways to prototype an interactive architecture. NSA Muscle was designed and constructed for the Non-Standard Architectures exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2003–2004.

ONL’s focus is on the expression of moving surfaces and volumes rather than the expression of moving structure. There is a desire for greater fluidity of form to achieve dynamic figures, and it is not accidental that ONL looked towards pneumatics, combining an external tensile net of soft robotic tubes manufactured by Festo™ with an inflated blue cushion enclosure. The brain of this moving room was a program called Virtools™, owned by the makers of the software CATIA, Dassault Systèmes. This software combines 3D virtual space with programmed interactivity in real-time relationships between sensor input from the real world and output to the controlling devices that change the shape and sound of the Muscle. This software manages the real-time feedback loop between the Muscle and those who interact with it.

As part of a multiyear project that includes three exhibitions on twenty-five seminal projects, the CCA and Greg Lynn are publishing a series of digital publications recording conversations with key architects. The epubs are heavily illustrated with photos, drawings, renderings, videos, PDFs, and interactive 3D models.

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