Egypt, ETFE and Electricity in Fabric Structures

FabricArchitect continues his look at Fabric Structures from A to Z.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the letter “E” and Fabric Structures is:

  • Egypt
  • ETFE
  • Electricity


Obviously, its tragic what’s happening in Egypt.

Good and bad, these events put a spot light on a place few have been to or read about.

I know pyramids and camels come to mind but Egypt has some beautiful hotels, resorts and fabric structures. Here’s a fabric structure at the Marassi Beach Resort. Overlapping triangles and hypars. Not bad.

We all need shade to protect us from harmful UV rays.

What you can do in Egypt, you can do in your own backyard.

Just remember, design takes time, engineer it to code and choose finishes that are built to last.


I’m sure you have already seen or heard about “The Nest” or the “Ice Cube” from watching the Summer Olympics in Beijing. This material is clear and its the HOT material on the market.

ETFE (ethylenetetrafluorethylene) is a polymer resin from the same family as PTFE. It is produced in very thin sheets and is manufactured to be installed in single layers or as inflated “pillows”, “cushions” or “foils”.

It is used an alternative to structural glass for long-span structures and, because of its light weight, is helps reduce the size of the primary structural system. Check out The Eden Project by Nicholas Grimshaw if you don’t believe me.

You gotta love ETFE!

ETFE foils are UV resistant, inert to chemicals, and 100-percent recyclable. Multiple layers of ETFE can provide an effective thermal enclosure. It can also be designed with unique patterns on the film, providing a range of light transmission.


Can you install electric wiring in a fabric structure?


The key is to get an electrician involved ASAP and work out the wiring ASAP too. Most fabric structures come as a kit of parts to site.

I hate welding on site because we spend so much time fabricating in the shop and providing a top of the line finish that having to weld and prime and paint just never looks as good as a shop finish.

Running wires requires coordination from the foundation, to the hand hole location for pulling main wires to providing stubs or openings for specific wiring and fixture connections.

Remember, there is no hiding in fabric structures. Everything is exposed. Plan early.

Next come the “F” words!


One response to “Egypt, ETFE and Electricity in Fabric Structures

  1. Pingback: were can I find good ideas for a backyard wedding? | Landscape Design Online

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s