About Itinerant Home

This blog began as a venue  to share my (Mary Hale’s) research, resources and process in fabricating the inflatable Itinerant Home for the DesCours Festival in New Orleans, December 9-13, 2009.   Since then, the blog’s purpose has expanded to document all of my personal and collaborative inflatable-making projects.  I hope it’s useful!

The conceptual basis for the original Itinerant Home project is below, for anyone who’s curious:


Four years ago, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in a deadly pass.  Four years later, her destruction endures, but not for a lack of effort on the part of local and national groups, led by citizens and celebrities alike.  These stalwart philanthropists nobly toil to rebuild the city and to provide homes for those displaced by the floods.  Nonetheless, many of their projects break ground in flood-zones without adequately safeguarding against future disasters.  Meanwhile, contemporary architects and urbanists obsess over climate change and its rising tides that are projected to flood our coastal cities.  Their design proposals range from the practical to the absurd, but few of their ideas take shape beyond the drawing board and beyond the pages of glossy magazines. New Orleans is a hotbed of both confusion and possibility.

In response, Itinerant Home provides a focal point to discuss these possibilities.  The project takes the form of a wearable, inflatable house that shelters multiple wearers as they work together to navigate through the historic neighborhoods and water bodies of New Orleans.  The project draws from artist Lucy Orta’s early critical work, “Refugee Wear”, which re-imagines bivouac structures as wearable shelters.  In so doing, the popular notion of body-wear extends to include shelter.  Like Orta’s Refugee Wear (pictured below), Itinerant Home expands this definition of body-wear.  Only in this case, body-wear goes beyond the gallery to be seen – and worn – by the public of New Orleans in the context of their historic building stock.  In this context, the project will symbolize and stimulate new ways of thinking about the architecture of home and the future of the city. It is a playful venue for conversation and exchange, literally tailored to fit people of all ages.

Itinerant Home was commissioned by the New Orleans Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and will be on view during DesCours week from December 9 – 13, 2009.


Lucy Orta's Refugee-wear


8 Responses to “About Itinerant Home”

  1. Mom Says:

    I love this! Very cool and well explained.

  2. gpeditto Says:

    Excellent work, Mary! I love the blog and am excited to see your project’s build-out and reception. Looking forward to more. Cheers, G

  3. Sarah Reeves Says:

    FABULOUS! Good luck with the construction,– I love that you’re doing this!

  4. z Says:

    wonderful. are there images of what the project will look like, how it will work, etc?

    my vap class… which i am in right not…. is doing an inflatable collaborative project. you should come as a guest lecturer.

    • maryehale Says:

      why, i would love to. put me on the agenda! in all seriousness though, feel free to share the resources section with your class. it’s not totally fleshed out yet, but it might be helpful. as for renderings, yes… there are some, but i’d rather hold the suspense until the projects completed!

  5. haruka Says:

    mary, this is awesome! i’m excited to see more of your updates and the finished product. i’m actually starting to experiment a bit with deflatables right now for my thesis and will be trying out the heat seal method from your resources page 🙂

  6. Encarna Micó Amigo Says:

    I have studied Industrial Design Engineering and I’m looking for an internship in a company to develop Product design.
    I could send you my motivation letter, CV and portfolio with my expedient if you contac me.
    Thank you so much.


  7. John P. Says:

    Wow! What a great project, I love the inflatable as an agent of cultural change…..Keep up the good work.

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