Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Celia . Celia Wonders, “Can you blow a bubble inside a bubble?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Celia !
Have you ever played with bubbles? It’s one of the greatest joys of childhood! Dipping that little plastic wand into the soapy mixture is so exciting! There’s nothing like watching dozens of round bubbles come to life!
Of course, soap bubbles aren’t the only kind. There are bubble gum bubbles, soft drink bubbles, sea foam bubbles, and more! If you pay attention, you’ll see bubbles just about everywhere.
In fact, you might even see bubbles in architecture. It may seem like an odd choice, but many architects are inspired by bubbles. In part, this is because of bubbles’ physical properties, including their strength!
Strength? Bubbles? Does that sound crazy? If you‘ve ever blown bubbles, you know how easily they pop. They’re one of the most fragile things in the world! It just takes the slightest breeze or bit of contact to burst those bubbles. Would you ever use bubbles to build a new stadium? How about a palace? Would you like a roof made of bubbles?
You might think that sounds crazy. Of course, most architecture is just inspired by bubbles, not actually made of them. Instead, they‘re made with all sorts of materials. And you might also be surprised to learn that they’re not all round!
Frei Otto was one of the first architects to study bubbles. He wanted to see how they could be used in modern buildings. Inspired by the nature of bubbles, Otto designed many awe-inspiring structures. Some of his best-known creations were the Diplomatic Club in Saudi Arabia and the Aviary at Munich Zoo.
Did you watch the 2008 Summer Olympics? If so, you may have seen Beijing’s National Aquatic Centre. This building is also known as the Water Cube. Glowing blue against the dark night sky, the Water Cube is hard to forget. The building looks like it was sliced from a big cube of soap bubbles!
Have you ever dreamed of living in a bubble palace? In the French Riviera, you can! Called the Palais Bulles, the building inspired by bubbles was build in 1989. Plenty of other structures were inspired by bubbles, including The Bean in Chicago and the Oil Bubble in China.
But can a building actually be made of soapy bubbles? Sort of! The Bubble Building in Rotterdam, Netherlands, is the world’s most fragile and temporary building, since it’s made over and over again on the spot by visitors.
Visitors to the Bubble Building dip metal frames in 16 hexagonal pools of soapy bubble mixture. That’s how they build short-lived buildings with bubbly walls. The architects who thought up the Bubble Building used the hexagon because it’s a naturally-occurring shape found in clustered bubbles. So no, not all bubbles are round!
Would you like to help build the Bubble Building? Or would you rather blow bubbles in the back yard or park? The next time you watch those tiny orbs floating from the air, imagine what new structures they could inspire!
Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1