No job is too small

THMunderYou see and hear a lot about the big jobs…stadiums, airports, malls, etc. It’s nice every so often to work on a small project. A project just providing simple shade, signage and shelter. But it doesn’t matter how small or big a custom fabric structure, it still requires design, engineering, fabrication and installation. Design takes a unique thought process, engineering takes time, fabrication requires quality control and the installation require care and a little bit of tension!

Fabric Structures come in all shapes and sizes, materials and and colors. No job is too big or too small

An Umbrella when you need it

Hypar ParkHypar Park is an adaptable shade structure system based on the concept of the hyperbolic paraboloid.

The structure is designed to support a “Hypar” membrane. The fabric roof can be made of structural mesh, vinyl coated polyester, ptfe, etfe or stretch fabric  and can be installed on the structure quite easily.

These architectural umbrellas can be laid out in any configuration and are ideal for both healthy living and festive play.

The structure is designed to support a lighting system which uses the membrane as a reflector. The structure allows the material to be changed quite easy for whatever mood you are in.

An umbrella comes in all shapes and sizes. You can have a personal umbrella or one large enough to cover two, three or more people.

Go big or go home.

Take a few big umbrellas, space them out properly and you can have a park full of shade and water protection.

mdt canopyI call it Fabric Landscape Architecture.

Make mine a Fabric Architect House!

summer houseThis Fabric house was inspired by the Frey/Kocher weekend house but takes “canvas” to the next level. A canvas house is now possible due the durability of the material. The material can be made into panels and become a floor, a wall, a ceiling and more with no fear of fire and smoke. The fabric is interchangeable for all surfaces and depending on the fabric chosen, different levels of light translucency, color and texture is achievable. Today’s Architectural materials are waterproof enough to be used as an inverted umbrella which not only provides shade but collects water too.

Make mine a Fabric Architect House!

Oldies but goodies

Camp WayneCamp Wayne for Girls Gymnastic Pavilion.

This project was done many years and has had its cover replaced a couple of times as well.

It’s a temporary pavilion for gymnastics at a girls camp in Pennsylvania.

It could easily be a pavilion for eating, dancing, sports, yoga or as an outdoor meeting place with protection from the elements any where.

It’s easy enough to be taken down and installed by workers at the camp.

It’s affordable and, most importantly, it works.

tumblr_nsd1l7GScF1qlssyjo1_500It’s made with a combination of aluminum and steel masts which support a vinyl coated polyester membrane.

Not a bad view from the pavilion either.

Fabric Structures and Fabric Architect provides these kinds of solutions and more.

April Showers bring May Flowers

We’ve all heard the expression “April Showers bring May Flowers”.

This view is looking east, with the Hudson River behind me. Note the Empire State Building on the left side of the photo... ***************************************** Let me begin with a disclaimer: I do not dance the tango, and I know little or nothing about its history, its folklore, or even its steps and rhythms. I'm vaguely aware that it originated in Argentina (and Uruguay) in the 1890s, that a new style known as "tango nuevo" began to emerge in the late 1990s, and that various actors and actresses -- including Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Antonio Banderas, Madonna, Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger(!), among others -- have performed the tango in various movies. But beyond that, it never really occurred to me that it played any significant role here in the U.S. That is, not until the summer of 2009, when I happened to return to my hotel, on a business trip to Washington, DC, just as a local gathering of tango aficionados was dancing to their music in a nearby square known as Freedom Plaza. I photographed the event (see my Flickr set Last tango in Washington) and learned from one of the participants that there were similar informal events in New York City, at the South Street seaport, during the summer and fall weekends. When I got back to New York, I searched on the Internet, and found a schedule of upcoming tango events just as my Washington acquaintance had indicated; but travel schedules, inclement weather, and other distractions prevented me from actually attending any of them; by the end of the autumn season, I had forgotten all about it. For some reason, something reminded me of the tango again this spring -- perhaps some music that I overheard, perhaps a scene on some otherwise forgettable television show. In any case, I searched again on the Internet, and discovered that a tango "event" would be taking place on a Sunday afternoon -- but not at the South Street Seaport (on the east side of Manhattan, near the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges), but rather at Pier 45, where Christopher Street runs into the Hudson River in Greenwich Village. The event was scheduled to take place between 3:30 and 7:30 PM, and another quick search on the Internet informed me that sunset would occur at 7:30 PM. So I arrived a little before 6 PM, as the sun was beginning to drop down in the western sky, and photographed for a little more than an hour. I captured some 522 images, of which 75 have survived in this Flickr set. For the majority of the photos, I stood at the end of the pier, with my back to the Hudson River and the sinking sun; the sun broken in and out of clouds on the horizon -- and because I was wearing sunglasses, I didn't fully appreciate the extent of sun-glare that was often striking the faces of the dancers, as well as the shadows where the sun wasn't hitting at all. But I think I recovered most of the inadvertent over-exposure and under-exposure with some post-processing on the computer... I was also able to get some shots facing westward and southward, so that you could see the New Jersey skyline behind the dancers; indeed, there are a couple of shots with the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge in the background. (Note to self: come back here at twilight, on a Sunday evening in mid-summer; it could well be even more spectacular.) Since I have no personal expertise (or even competence) at the dance, there's not much that I can say about what's going on; I have to let the pictures speak for themselves. Though it wasn't universally true, I noticed several occasions where the women were taller than their partners; I gather that that's an advantage when the dancers are twirling and twisting around. Also, I had the distinct impression -- just as was the case in Washington last summer -- that few (if any) of the dancers were "couples" in the traditional sense. Indeed, many of them seemed to be strangers who had met for the first time at this tango event, but who seemed to enjoy the experience of the dance together. And others, from what little I could tell, might have encountered one another at previous tango events -- but had no other interactions or relationship with one another. In any case, I had photographed everything I could imagine photographing by a little after 7 PM. I put away my camera equipment, walked a few blocks east to Hudson Street to enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant with my wife, and made a note to check the Internet again for future tango events in Central Park and the South Street Seaport. If you'd like to pursue this on your own, check out Richard Lipkin's Guide to Argentine Tango in New York City.

I know its February (almost March) but remember it rains a lot in April and May. When Spring comes people start to spend more time outside and look for the same protection from the elements they expect all year.

Fosters-national-harbor-premium-eventFabric Structures provide a great solution to high winds, surprise snow, spring showers and heavy down pours. Its not bad to have a properly designed fabric structure up all year long too for hot summer and cold winters too!

But with all good things, its takes time to design, engineer, fabricate and install these structure. So start planning now.

Fordingbridge_Predesigned-Tensile-Fabric-Structures_Images_Kingshurst-SchoolJust want shade, go High Density Polythene (HDPE). Its a mesh fabric that gives you shade only protection but can also handle drizzle and light rain. Great for playgrounds, parking canopies

Looking for a cost effective solution to water protection?

Go with a vinyl coated polyester (PVC) fabric.

Toile tendue de auvent

Alfresco Architecture

Need a noncombustible fabric?

Go with teflon coated fiberglass (PTFE).

Looking for transparency instead of translucency?

Ask for clear fabric in PVC, PTFE or ETFE!

From umbrellas to dome stadium, awning to frame structure, retail to industrial, temporary to permanent, there is no other material that passes the test.

Make it sustainable.

zanzibarMake it Resilient.

Make it yours.

Make it a custom Fabric Structure.

Covering Alfresco Living

If you are interested in extending your living space whether its for your home, restaurant, hotel or place of business, here are a couple of options.

Stretch Fabric Awnings or tentStretch awning restaurant

Don’t want a typical retractable awning or if you need to cover an odd space?

Try a stretch fabric. The material is a bit more forgiving and reaction loads are less than other tensile materials. Attach it directly to a wall or make it self supporting. Seasonal in nature but also quick to take up and down if you need to.

Frame TentRestaurant_Tent

Want something a little more traditional?

Try a frame tent. You can buy or rent a frame tent and attach it to your building for added support.
These frame tents are designed to incorporate, hard walls, fabric walls, glass and flooring.

Retractable CanopyA Pergola 100 with side awning white

Need all the bells and whistles? Go with a pre-engineered retractable vela, or sloped retractable canopy. Lean it against the wall, put your furniture outside, push a button and enjoy the alfresco living.



Hot, Hot Hot

It’s Hot in the USA right now. It’s summer.
Three (3) ways to keep cool with fabric structures:
1. Shade the horizontal: Shade Structures







2. Shade the vertical: Textile Facades







3. Shade when you want to: Retractable


Learning from EXPO

Germany-Pavilion-Milan-World-Expo-11I love World’s Fairs.

I love the pavilions there.

I went to the one in Seville in 1992 and it changed my life.

This year it is in Milan and if you can see past the crowds, construction and the protesters, there are some incredible structures out there.

ALOT of them using fabric as a building material.

Why not?

Its quick to design, engineer, fabricate and install. It can transform a space like no other material.

hdm_milan2015_001EXPO 2015 in Milan showcases ideas surrounding healthy, safe living and the vital needs of providing food for all.

Shade plays a huge role in solving those need.

It doesn’t always have to be these iconic shapes with high tech engineering.

expo_01It can be as simple as commercial tents in a large public square or flowing “Velas or Toldos” covering a small courtyard.

However, this all requires proper planning and an understanding of structure, materials, codes and foundations.

expo-milano-2015-main-squareThe same type of design, detail, technology and material used at EXPO can be used in your own events, places and spaces.

Textile facades used to clad pavilions can also enclose a parking garage. Giant shade structure petals used to shade alot of people and plants can be used in parks, restaurants and  public spaces in a smaller scale. Long space structures can cover parking lots, decks and sport facilities of all shapes and sizes.

532753bbc07a805cd80002c9_competition-entry-austrian-pavilion-milan-expo-2015-paolo-venturella_paolo_venturella_-_austrian_pavilion_expo_2015_04_adEven the pavilions that were not chosen to be constructed are just as interesting. Look out for new terms like “Vertical Farming” and ideas like growing your own food in your backyard fabric structure.

It’s a Fabric Structure World.


Do you really NEED a fabric structure?

IMG_3477Not really.

To Live, you NEED water, food and shelter.

Everything else is a WANT.

Well, do you really WANT a Fabric Structure?

It all depends.

If you are looking for a lightweight structure that provides protection from the Elements and happens to also improve the aesthetics of your place or space, then you WANT a fabric structure.

How Hard Can It Possibly Be?

IMG_3477There are 5.1 things that I learned over the past 12 months since I started my own business after 20 years working for a variety of companies.



1. “Its just steel, fabric and cables”. It seems that way but there is so much more. There is design, engineering, fabrication and installation. So much of it is behind the scenes. The client and the contractor and the user think its so easy but as they say, if it was so easy, everyone would be doing it. I learned that education and getting EVERYBODY to understand the process is critical. I found myself explaining the process over and over again. Education is key.

2. Running a business is not easy or fun. Forms, taxes, accounts receivables, accounts payables, dealing with subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, etc. When did they teach me this in Architecture School?! Found myself researching a lot of …for Dummies books to catch up. Thanks Amazon!

3. Friends are priceless. There were and are so many times when you need a friend. A friend to talk to about your business. A friend to contact in the middle of the night for a favor. A friend to ask if if they know someone who can save your day. A friend to cry with. A friend to laugh with. I have a lot of I.O.U’s to give out.

4. Have you ever heard of a thing called “Stress”? I learned that God is in control. There are so many things you think you got under control but you don’t. The weather is unpredictable and so are your clients, consultants and suppliers. I learned they all have lives outside of work  and the world does not revolve around me. Sorry and thanks in advance to all the people I have worked with over the past 12 months.

5. The Sun will come out tomorrow. There is a pretty good chance that the Sun will come out tomorrow. I’ve had good days. I ‘ve had bad days. Stress one day. Joy another. Money in. Money out. Late nights. All nighters. Weekends off. Vacation?! What’s that?

5.1 It’s good to have a Dog and a great family. They love you no matter what.