I got into fabric structures in the 1980’s when The Haj Terminal in Saudi Arabia designed by American Architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) were on the cover of every architectural magazine in the world and air and tensioned fabric structures from U.S. based Geiger Berger Associates were the talk of the Engineering town.
The Fabric structure world here in the US has made a lot of noise this past year.
First, the explosive ending to two (2) fabric dome stadiums. The Detroit Silverdome came down (twice) after years without its famed roof while the Georgia Dome roof quietly came down with the membrane still on it (nothing sticks to teflon).
In the past 30 years, fabric structures have been built around the world for airports, stadiums, worlds fairs, transit stations and retail centers just to name a few at a rapid pace and most people who live outside of the U.S. can point a few out in their own country quite easily. Here in the U.S. it not so easy. Most people will point out the Denver Airport or the San Diego Convention Center or Pier Six Music Pavilion in Baltimore but for a country of our size, we have some catching up to do.
A new crop of fabric structures designed with an international group of designers, engineers and fabricators have brought some new fabric architecture to the forefront of American Architecture and will hopefully trigger and new wave of fabric structures in this country.
Tomorrow looks promising too.
Towards the South, the new Hartsfield Jackson Terminal will be the home of a new ETFE tunnel of love for passengers wanting to get out of the rain or hot southern climate as they get dropped off and picked up at the airport.
Out West, the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood (at least that’s the latest name for this place) will be the home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. The development will be the marriage of Sports and Entertainment under one “roof”. And what a roof! Just more ETFE.
But these big ticket items are set to appear in 2019 or later.
There have been a couple of project this past year (2017) although smaller in scale show there is still interest in fabric structures here in the United States.
Although there is this love affair with ETFE right now, there still seams to be an interest in teflon coated fiberglass (PTFE), vinyl coated polyester (PVC) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) for small, medium and large size projects.
If you got a great fabric structure image you would like to share, hashtag #loves_fabricstructures to be featured on Instagram!
Happy New Year.