How to Blow Up a Bubble that Won’t Burst

In 1974 three Binishells were erected at Narrabeen North Public School. The concrete domes were designed by Dante Bini, an Italian architect, brought to Sydney by the NSW Department of Public Works. The Binishells popped up from the ground in a matter of hours and caused an immediate sensation. People were amazed by the speed of their construction, their futuristic shape, and most of all by their radical design, which used air as its primary building material.

Prior to coming to Sydney Dante Bini had wowed radical architectural circles with his “architectural happenings” live performative inflations of concrete bubbles. His most famous clients were Monica Vitti and Michelangelo Antonioni who commissioned him to build their home close to the famous pink sands of the secluded beach featured in Red Desert.


How to Blow up a Bubble that Won’t Burst is a collaborative project with students at Narrabeen North Public School, home to the first Binishell in Sydney. It explores the architecture of the city from the perspective of the young people who will inherit its structures, landscapes, and environmental legacies. Zanny Begg has created an exchange between these students and Dante Bini allowing the users of architectural space, and its architect, to discuss the future of cities.

Project commissioned by Joni Taylor for the exhibition Groundwork: From the Archives Up. Also exhibited at Imagine a City, 200 Years of Public Architecture, The State Library, NSW, Box Copy, Brisbane, RMIT Design Hub, URBNE Film Festival, Milan.

Film by Zanny Begg, 18mins, 2015
Camera William Robertson and Lorenzo Pace
Original music by Jon Hunter
Digital Colourist Yanni Kroenberg


Installation shots of Binishells in Groundwork: From the Archives Up, Gaffa Gallery by David Brazil.

Narrated by Mackenzie Papageorge. With the participation of Ethan Morris, Amber Bell, Joel Connor, Yasmin Langmaid, Annabelle Norton, Dane Burns, Ash Adams, Mila Tsoa Lee, Taj Gleeson, Eliza Hely, Toby Downs, Tahmea Peacock , Anika Harford, Bailey Roper, Sam Calabretta, Beau Rabaul, Monique Allen, Scarlett Coutler, Mackenzie Papageorge and other students from Narrabeen North Public School.


Images of the construction of the Binishells by Max Dupain, gifted to the artist by Dante Bini.

To read an excerpt of the student’s interview with Dante Bini click here.

To read a review of the exhibit  Groundwork: From the Archives Up click here.