The Barefoot Strategist

Strategy, planning, policy, international relations, security affairs, and barefoot running.


Passing Cloud

Passing Cloud is a recently submitted project for the international ideas competition: Life at the Speed of Rail, organised by the Van Alen Institute and partly funded by the Department of Cultural Affairs of New York City.

Although it wasn’t one of the winning proposals, Passing Cloud reveals a strong conceptual approach that is worth noting: It is a new vision on traveling, based on the old Zeppelins.

Nowadays, traveling is achieved with this idea of having a fixed destination and an estimated time of arrival. Passing Cloud completely inverts this system. A floating device is introduced that travels around the entire USA territory according to current predominant winds. It has no fixed time of arrival or place for arrival. The journey becomes the essence. Imagine traveling at wind speeds in a totally sustainable object that leaves no Human trace behind.

This project envisions a distinct approach towards moving around the United States being also a revival of the act of traveling. Why traveling at high speed? Why having the final destiny always defined? And why always departing and arriving on a tight schedule? Nowadays, everything is set and everyone is always running around. It is time to reconsider the act of traveling and start enjoying it accordingly.

The Passing Cloud is an innovative and environmentally friendly method of transportation that doesn’t require expensive steel tracks or concrete highways. It is made of a series of spherical balloons that form the shape of a cloud. Its inner stainless steel structure is covered with heavy weight tensile nylon fabric. During the journey, It moves according to prevailing winds speed and direction at the time of travel. Since it moves with the wind, no wind is ever felt during the trip, offering the passengers a full “floating sensation”.

It’s an unique journey. The feeling of floating in the atmosphere – on top of a cloud – with an open schedule and unknown final destiny. All National Ground would be potentially covered at virtually no cost and the help of the wind. The journey becomes your destiny.

Project data:

Organiser: Van Alen Institute

Competition: June 2011

Design Team: Tiago Barros

Location: USA

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