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'Passing Cloud' Imagined As The Next Form Of Transportation (VIDEO)

First Posted: 10/18/11 03:52 AM ET   Updated: 10/21/11 04:04 PM ET

We've always had a fascination with floating up into the clouds and leaving the drudgery of everyday life behind. Think Pixar's "Up" and Jules Verne's classic, "Around The World In 80 Days." Now, one architecture firm has envisioned a way to merge those fantasies with the very daily life we'd be escaping.

While the "Life at the Speed of Rail" competition, organized by the Val Alen Institute and partly funded by the Department of Cultural affairs of New York City, mainly saw submissions that involved light rails to solve the transportation conundrums of New York City, architect Tiago Barros chose a different approach. Barros developed a concept that would re-establish travel as an unearthly experience and not merely as a transition between point A and point B.

The "Passing Cloud" project would call for the construction of a series of spherical balloons that would form a massive cloud-like floating structure. The interior would be composed of a stainless steel frame wrapped in heavy weight tensile nylon fabric, a minute fraction of the amount of steel needed to build a light rail system.

What's the catch? This form of transportation would be completely directed by the wind. There are no estimated times of arrival or even defined final destinations; it is all for the joy of travel. This concept might sound ludicrous, but that very reaction is what Barros is trying to engage.

"Nowadays, everything is set and everyone is always running around." Barros' website explains. "It is time to reconsider the act of traveling and start enjoying it accordingly." Moving around aimlessly on a giant cloud sounds like a nice idea for a vacation, if one could only give up the concept of a "destination" as a defined location. Since it would move with the wind, no wind would be felt by passengers, making it a relaxing, turbulence-free trip. While it may have not won the competition, Barros' idea is a refreshing take on the modern escape. View renderings of the concept below.

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Filed by Andrew Reilly  |