Niamh Brownlie

Interior & Environmental Design BDes (Hons)

I am Niamh Brownlie, a Spatial Designer that values spaces that are created by and for the individuals that inhabit those spaces.


Niamh Brownlie

Inflatable City proposes a new tool for city voyeurism through inflatable architecture, pocketed within spatial enclosures of the urban rooms within the city. This urban utopia en-capsules a packed city, capturing the main essence of a city as being the interaction that happens within the architecture. The concept features four stages, expanding on processes which create the possibility for collaboration about the city’s structure and design. The four sites are housed within the in-between spaces of buildings creating intimate areas within the city that can be repopulated with the consideration of the individual within the urban process, activating the city from inside the city. Inflatable City acts as a physical representation of the design process, in the form of stages which allow for spontaneous interventions created everyday by the users, allowing for a space validating their involvement within the creation of their environment. The first site, the City Laboratory, is the only permanent structure, acting as a test bed and a physical workshop for producing city objects and prototype inflatable structures. The temporary inflatable spatial interventions within the city space allow for new modes of urbanism, working directly with the urban fabric of cities, merging with the collective community and analysing the relationship between space, place and social relations. Acting as a proposal for public space, that facilitates the collective involvement of the city’s inhabitants.

Overview of the Inflatable City.

The four sites in relation to each other.

A black image with white wireframe buildings and black and white peoples collages over top.

1 - The City Laboratory, Meadows Entry. 2 - Conversation Capsule, St Peters Court. 3 - Factory Floor, Frankies Court. 4 - Instant City, City Square, Caird Hall.

Exploded axonometric of the first site, the City Laboratory.

A small building exploded axonometric view with an organic roof structure and super graphic flooring.

The City Laboratory is a test bed of idea generation and processing as well as a physical workshop for producing city objects and prototyping inflatable structures. A nucleus for the city’s urban circulatory system, producing and exchanging concepts and structures that permanently or temporarily live within the city.

City laboratory

The City Laboratory is broken down into three zones acting as an idea generator and processor as well as a physical workshop for producing city objects and prototype inflatable structures. Consisting of discussion areas to process ideas that are coming from the second and third site. Small scale making allows for entry level making techniques and opportunities for the community to get involved with basic skills. Large scale making, constructing the inflatable structures that requires more knowledge of making skills.

Conceptual Image of the second site, the Conversation Capsule.

Black and white perspective visual with audience watching the site being constructed with the old fashioned workers edited over top.

Conversation Capsule considers how individuals interact with architecture and combines that with the dual interaction of human connection and the communication with architecture. Merging individual, space and social relations, offering a place to contemplate and discuss the city. An inflated temporary environment which offers a unique isolated environment within the urban fabric of the city. Through inserting only their head the user opens a new perceptual realm of experiencing the city. Free from personal representation, the user is uninhibited and able to experience the abstracted city textured tiles that the inflatable environment pushes up against.

Conversation Capsule Manual

Step-by-step process of the curation of the conversation capsule which inflates against the textured cast tile walls. The cast walls are a curation of tiles that have been individually cast by the inhabitants of the city. Creating a mini city to have a conversation about city design and bring ownership back to the inhabitants.

Interior inflatable perspective visual of the third site, the Factory Floor.

Visual of the third site within plastic inflatable with people drawing on the walls of the inflatable  and  view of the street.

The Factory Floor is a space to prototype concepts and structures for the city, before they are presented and displayed at the final site. The inflated site sits within the urban room of the buildings and pokes out of the façade, relying on the spontaneous interactions that happen within the city to activate urban engagement. The structure acts as a city simulator, encompassing the raw forms of the city that represent the structure that is being prototyped. It gives the opportunity for city dwellers to draw on the urban fabric against the inflated structure and sketch their feedback of the city.

Visual of inflatable within the fourth site, Instant City.

Instant City is the final stage in the design process, presenting the precooked concept for the city within the city square. Instantly inflating the concept and allowing for the inhabitants to experience their discussions in physical form. A spectacle square treating the city as a stage for mass theatre and embedding collectively produced inflatable structures that represents that inhabitants’ desires. Turning conceptual ideas into urban form, a hybrid of architecture and discussion. Utilising the historic significance of a public square for spontaneous meetings, demonstrations and revolutions.

Instant City

Interior views of interventions happening within the final considered inflatable structure. Within members of the public are able to contemplate the future structure that they will see within their city. Attention brought to the structure will encourage people to get involved with future design projects. Talks with urban practitioners, architects and city inhabitants would take place within.

Video detailing the making processes of the cast and inflatable structures.


If you wish to contact me, please feel free to send me an email or drop me a message on Instagram. Check out some more of my work over on my website.