Category Archives: Shade Structures

2018: Towards an Era of shade, signage and pillows

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.

The Minnesota Vikings newly opened ETFE roof (US Bank Stadium) and Atlanta Falcons retractable PTFE petals on their new stadium (Mercedes Benz) have  received positive  reviews.

 

Tomorrow looks promising too.

On the East Coast, Get ready for The Shed. Due to open in 2019, this ETFE movable cultural shed looks like it could open tomorrow.

 

 

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.

One could point out the canopies at the Denver Civic Center Station. (Structurflex)

 

 

 

 

Another project could be the new South Terminal canopies at the Austin Airport. (Fabritec)

 

 

How about 36 different printed PVC shade structures scattered around the Volcano Bay Park in Orlando. (Birdair)

 

 

And let’s not forget textile facades which continue to be seen on new and old buildings, parking garages and in all shapes, sizes and colors. (Eide/Tension Structures)

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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For Work and or Play

Fabric Structures for Work and for play.

Industrial Application:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This canopy was made to cover an area between two buildings where traffic passes in both directions and is on wheels in case you need to roll it away!

Recreational Application:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shade structure was made to cover kids from the summer heat at a day camp. In the winter, the shade are taken down until next summer!

Residential Application:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shade structure is for the ultimate beach getaway. On the roof overlooking the Atlantic. What more can you ask for but a little more shade!

Night and Day

Here’s a project in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

It’s an entrance for a high end residential complex.

Fabric structures are not all white and come in all shapes and sizes.

 

It was designed for both day and night.

Its been about 10 years!

 

It’s good to see an old friend.

 

2017: Towards a Clear and Vertical Fabric Architecture

It’s time to look back on the year that was. And some thoughts on the year to come.

In the fabric structure industry here in the USA, two major projects caught my eye: Viking Stadium in Minneapolis, MN and the Stadiums at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY.

vikingstadiumta-597187860To the general public, the roof of the new Viking Stadium looks like a typical glass skylight but just the idea of watching a sporting event in a temperature controlled environment yet still being able to see the sky is what will become common in the future.

ETFE is the word of the year and a close second is transparency.

063471_013Designers will see new potential for mall renovations, airports, transit stations just to name a few. Developers and users will insist their traveling and shopping experience never be rained out. For those of us that want to look small, look no further to outdoor school areas, home extensions and public plazas to have “clear” roofs.

To see and be seen.

arthur-ashe-stadium-debut-retractable-roof-2016-us-tennis-open-01The US Open Tennis Facility in NY showed the sports world here in the US that a retractable roofs is no longer an option but a necessity. Is Met Life Stadium next?

It may look like a smaller version of the Dallas Cowboy stadium roof but it works in an urban context. The upcoming Atlanta Falcons Stadium roof will show case the retractable roof as an iconic piece of the Architecture in the city.

rossetti_usta_gs_792_0Another upcoming necessity will be the textile facade like seen at the Bille Jean King Court a the US Open. The facade will be seen more in convention building types. Old and new sports facilities will be wearing temporary or permanent coats. Designed using parametric equations and fluid dynamics or just plain and simple, these new facades will be ever changing billboards, climates changers and visual jewelry for buildings of all shapes and sizes from offices to warehouses to industrial buildings.

And “textile facades” work small too. They can screen mechanical systems, parking garages and a neighbor in style.

The Sky’s the limit and so is the horizon in 2017.

Have a Happy New Year!

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.

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

kompetenzen

 

 

 

 

 

2. Shade the vertical: Textile Facades

Friedrichstrasse-40-Office-Building-Petersen-Architekten-6-537x357

 

 

 

 

 

 
3. Shade when you want to: Retractable

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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.