by Samuel J. Armijos, AIA
Interior fabric structures comprise of walls, ceilings, and three dimensional sculptures, used alone or in combinations. The can be temporary or permanent. Some have acoustical properties, while most are used as art, lighting and signage. They are designed primarily for aesthetic purposes, but they must be compatible with requirements such as sprinklers, electrical, and mechanical systems. They also must meet building, lighting, and fire codes. Although fabric structures are quite light, they must be attached to or supported by structural elements that can absorb their specific loads.
Fabric used for interior applications usually is limited to materials that “breathe,” because ventilation is a major concern. Because lighting and mechanical systems are often required above and below the structures, they must be designed and installed so as not to prohibit air movement, or present safety issues.
Interior Fabric Structures are usually constructed from elastic fabrics that can be stretched easily into shapes with double curvature. These fabric structures do not all need to have double curvature. They can be constructed much like a billboard, office partition or room divider. Fabric walls can hang from the ceiling like curtains or be tensioned from the floor and ceiling with adjustable turnbuckles. They can also be self supporting or hang vertically from a structural beam. Interior Fabric Structures can have graphics applied to them or be digitally printed, and can be lit from above, below, in front, or behind.
Simply put…Fabric Structures for interior applications is a great way to transform your space with grace!