From June 11-17, an inflatable bubble that can fit more than one hundred people will rise at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn to house the week-long Democracy Lab. The lab is organized by the Brooklyn Public Library, in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance, Storefront for Art & Architecture, and visitBerlin, and will feature workshops and talks on social justice and civic engagement by established community members of Brooklyn and greater New York.
The dome, dubbed the Spacebuster, is designed and developed by raumlaborberlin, a collective of eight Berlin-based architects. It was first commissioned by Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2009 in New York City.
The giant dome hatches in the back of a delivery van. People can enter into the space through the passenger door of the van, then walk through to the dome down a ramp. A fan under the ramp generates the air pressure.
The Spacebuster is a not only a backdrop for events but also actively participates in them. The translucent membrane acts as a blurred boundary, so pedestrians can look into the events happening inside the billowing urban room. Images can be projected onto the membrane and can be viewed both from the outside and the inside. It can also accommodate tables and chairs, depending on the program taking place inside.
Democracy Lab will feature workshops and talks by The New Yorker writer Rachel Aviv, The Simpsons show-runner and writer Mike Reiss and daily guided readings of The New York Times led by community leaders and writers such as the paper’s own critic Wesley Morris, among others. To see the full calendar of scheduled events, check out this link.