Towards a New Fabric Architecture

Layout 1I’ve been involved in the fabric structure industry since 1985 when I came upon an issue of Progressive Architecture talking about tension fabric structures made of teflon coated fiberglass while doing my graduate work at Rensselaer. The Haj Terminal in Saudi Arabia was on the cover of construction magazines all over the place and the idea of creating “modern tents” for the modern nomad was on the horizon. Sport stadiums were being “enclosed” with air structures and even the traditional camping tent was getting a make over. The material was being used for retail malls, Olympics and World Fairs, to name a few. These unique structures are now being used in Asia, Europe, Australia and the United States and there is no limit for its use. What’s next? The world is undergoing a major change. Money is tight and “sustainablity” is the key word in the building industry. Buildings and materials need to be environmentally friendly and their cost must be justified by providing overall benefits (physical, social and environmental) to the owner and its user. Today, there are so many materials on the plate for designers to choose from. How and why does one choose fabric? What is the future for fabric structures?

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