Category Archives: Wilmington

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!

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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.

April Showers bring May Flowers

We’ve all heard the expression “April Showers bring May Flowers”.

This view is looking east, with the Hudson River behind me. Note the Empire State Building on the left side of the photo... ***************************************** Let me begin with a disclaimer: I do not dance the tango, and I know little or nothing about its history, its folklore, or even its steps and rhythms. I'm vaguely aware that it originated in Argentina (and Uruguay) in the 1890s, that a new style known as "tango nuevo" began to emerge in the late 1990s, and that various actors and actresses -- including Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, Antonio Banderas, Madonna, Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger(!), among others -- have performed the tango in various movies. But beyond that, it never really occurred to me that it played any significant role here in the U.S. That is, not until the summer of 2009, when I happened to return to my hotel, on a business trip to Washington, DC, just as a local gathering of tango aficionados was dancing to their music in a nearby square known as Freedom Plaza. I photographed the event (see my Flickr set Last tango in Washington) and learned from one of the participants that there were similar informal events in New York City, at the South Street seaport, during the summer and fall weekends. When I got back to New York, I searched on the Internet, and found a schedule of upcoming tango events just as my Washington acquaintance had indicated; but travel schedules, inclement weather, and other distractions prevented me from actually attending any of them; by the end of the autumn season, I had forgotten all about it. For some reason, something reminded me of the tango again this spring -- perhaps some music that I overheard, perhaps a scene on some otherwise forgettable television show. In any case, I searched again on the Internet, and discovered that a tango "event" would be taking place on a Sunday afternoon -- but not at the South Street Seaport (on the east side of Manhattan, near the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges), but rather at Pier 45, where Christopher Street runs into the Hudson River in Greenwich Village. The event was scheduled to take place between 3:30 and 7:30 PM, and another quick search on the Internet informed me that sunset would occur at 7:30 PM. So I arrived a little before 6 PM, as the sun was beginning to drop down in the western sky, and photographed for a little more than an hour. I captured some 522 images, of which 75 have survived in this Flickr set. For the majority of the photos, I stood at the end of the pier, with my back to the Hudson River and the sinking sun; the sun broken in and out of clouds on the horizon -- and because I was wearing sunglasses, I didn't fully appreciate the extent of sun-glare that was often striking the faces of the dancers, as well as the shadows where the sun wasn't hitting at all. But I think I recovered most of the inadvertent over-exposure and under-exposure with some post-processing on the computer... I was also able to get some shots facing westward and southward, so that you could see the New Jersey skyline behind the dancers; indeed, there are a couple of shots with the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge in the background. (Note to self: come back here at twilight, on a Sunday evening in mid-summer; it could well be even more spectacular.) Since I have no personal expertise (or even competence) at the dance, there's not much that I can say about what's going on; I have to let the pictures speak for themselves. Though it wasn't universally true, I noticed several occasions where the women were taller than their partners; I gather that that's an advantage when the dancers are twirling and twisting around. Also, I had the distinct impression -- just as was the case in Washington last summer -- that few (if any) of the dancers were "couples" in the traditional sense. Indeed, many of them seemed to be strangers who had met for the first time at this tango event, but who seemed to enjoy the experience of the dance together. And others, from what little I could tell, might have encountered one another at previous tango events -- but had no other interactions or relationship with one another. In any case, I had photographed everything I could imagine photographing by a little after 7 PM. I put away my camera equipment, walked a few blocks east to Hudson Street to enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant with my wife, and made a note to check the Internet again for future tango events in Central Park and the South Street Seaport. If you'd like to pursue this on your own, check out Richard Lipkin's Guide to Argentine Tango in New York City.

I know its February (almost March) but remember it rains a lot in April and May. When Spring comes people start to spend more time outside and look for the same protection from the elements they expect all year.

Fosters-national-harbor-premium-eventFabric Structures provide a great solution to high winds, surprise snow, spring showers and heavy down pours. Its not bad to have a properly designed fabric structure up all year long too for hot summer and cold winters too!

But with all good things, its takes time to design, engineer, fabricate and install these structure. So start planning now.

Fordingbridge_Predesigned-Tensile-Fabric-Structures_Images_Kingshurst-SchoolJust want shade, go High Density Polythene (HDPE). Its a mesh fabric that gives you shade only protection but can also handle drizzle and light rain. Great for playgrounds, parking canopies

Looking for a cost effective solution to water protection?

Go with a vinyl coated polyester (PVC) fabric.

Toile tendue de auvent

Alfresco Architecture

Need a noncombustible fabric?

Go with teflon coated fiberglass (PTFE).

Looking for transparency instead of translucency?

Ask for clear fabric in PVC, PTFE or ETFE!

From umbrellas to dome stadium, awning to frame structure, retail to industrial, temporary to permanent, there is no other material that passes the test.

Make it sustainable.

zanzibarMake it Resilient.

Make it yours.

Make it a custom Fabric Structure.

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.

 

 

How Hard Can It Possibly Be?

IMG_3477There are 5.1 things that I learned over the past 12 months since I started my own business after 20 years working for a variety of companies.

 

 

 
1. “Its just steel, fabric and cables”. It seems that way but there is so much more. There is design, engineering, fabrication and installation. So much of it is behind the scenes. The client and the contractor and the user think its so easy but as they say, if it was so easy, everyone would be doing it. I learned that education and getting EVERYBODY to understand the process is critical. I found myself explaining the process over and over again. Education is key.

2. Running a business is not easy or fun. Forms, taxes, accounts receivables, accounts payables, dealing with subcontractors, vendors, suppliers, etc. When did they teach me this in Architecture School?! Found myself researching a lot of …for Dummies books to catch up. Thanks Amazon!

3. Friends are priceless. There were and are so many times when you need a friend. A friend to talk to about your business. A friend to contact in the middle of the night for a favor. A friend to ask if if they know someone who can save your day. A friend to cry with. A friend to laugh with. I have a lot of I.O.U’s to give out.

4. Have you ever heard of a thing called “Stress”? I learned that God is in control. There are so many things you think you got under control but you don’t. The weather is unpredictable and so are your clients, consultants and suppliers. I learned they all have lives outside of work  and the world does not revolve around me. Sorry and thanks in advance to all the people I have worked with over the past 12 months.

5. The Sun will come out tomorrow. There is a pretty good chance that the Sun will come out tomorrow. I’ve had good days. I ‘ve had bad days. Stress one day. Joy another. Money in. Money out. Late nights. All nighters. Weekends off. Vacation?! What’s that?

5.1 It’s good to have a Dog and a great family. They love you no matter what.

Back to School

EXPO-AXIS-SBAs-entrance-building-design-Interior-2My kids might be back to school but I find myself going back to school as well.

As a parent, I am looking for a college that fits my kids, researching university programs, faculty and facilities.  What makes them stand apart?

As an Architect and Builder, I am looking at projects at day care centers, high schools, colleges and research centers to make them more attractive to the owner, client, users. How do I make them cost effective, structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing?

Sheltering  people from one place to another is not as easy as it use to be. People are walking and riding bikes more…its a more transit society. And protecting their electronics from the elements too!

3.07 028EWA simple canopy from one place to another can look really boring if you just take it for what it is.

But when you begin to see that it can be part of the overall Architecture of your Daycare, Campus Green or Sport Facility, to name a few, it can play a major role.

Going Back to School can also be about learning new ways to do things and working with new people as well.

See you in class.

 

World Cup Shade

Roof shadeYou see it with the stadium roofs. The need to shade spectators and players. Found some interesting other areas that were shaded during the World Cup I thought I would share. Enjoy the rest of the Cup and keep cool.

world-cup-decoration 6282192-large capture_20140613_145834 dbd69b890f4642c9b54627550752acdd-ac7e3ec7c4784483ad4c53f390202d47-1 A boy rides his bicycle along Third Street of the Alvorada neighbourhood which is decorated for the 2014 World Cup in Manaus

Fabric Structures in your Backyard

Just in case you haven’t noticed, there are more fabric structures being built in your own backyard. It all depends on where your backyard happens to be. It could be in the back of your house, on the main highway in your city or even indoors in a place you frequent. They are light, you can light them and they transform space.

Seen a couple of new and interesting fabric structures lately and I thought I would share.

O.Ice Skating 003The Originators showed me an interesting structure they cal “trumpets” that are used for an ice skating show in the Boston area. I can see these wrapping columns, laying on the ground as sculpture even working outdoors for special events.

Made with spandex, you can light them, have graphics applied to them and they come neatly packaged.

Anaheim projectAnaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, also known as the ARTIC, is bringing ETFE acceptance to a new level. Under construction in Disney’s backyard in California, it will be a new hub for both resident and tourist. Cheaper and lighter than glass, the make the main structural frame even lighter.

renderingLooker for something smaller or modular, here is an idea called a “hypar umbrella”. I call mine iHYPAR. Its a framework for a multiple of tensile opportunities. The Hypar umbrella frame can support cable netting like a horizontal “green screen”, stretch fabric for special events, coated materials for waterproof applications and photo voltaic and even “hard” materials that can be formed into hypars.

 

Light is more.

The Fabric Structure of Tomorrow?

nys81Recently there has been a lot of press on the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair in New York City and the Tent of Tomorrow.

Designed by Architect Philip Johnson, the structures debuted to the world on April 22, 1964 and quickly became among its most popular attractions.

5322884763_2918e3d37c_zTents of this size are now called “fabric structures” and radial design roofs are very common today mostly for sport stadium roofs.

As for the Future of the Tent of Tomorrow, there is much debate about what to do with it now.

The pavilion’s 16-100′ tall concrete columns (which are still in good shape)  supported a then “state of the art” 50,000 sqft foot translucent, multicolored fiberglass tile.

64-tent-tomorrowAs far as I know, there are two options on the table: $15 million to tear it down or $50-75 million to restore it to its original form.

Tearing it down will leave a space that many will fight over for years. Restoring it will create a tourist attraction in my opinion not worth visiting.

Here is a suggestion:

etfe_projects_earthbackWhy not build the Fabric Structure of Today.

The roof can made with solar panels that open an close and provide energy to the city. The walls made of ETFE can enclose a vertical farm that produces food. The structure can be designed to collect water which can be used for a number of things. Add a wind turbine too.

Who pays for it? We do. Who benefits? We do.

The Fabric Structure of Tomorrow should be a machine for Living, Teaching, Researching, Producing, Growing and Enjoying. Its more than just shade.

 

 

Here comes the sun

“Here Comes The Sun”- The Beatles

MDT Typ E - 75Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

NH imageLittle darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Shadesail-Soltis-92-5Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It’s all right, it’s all right

Lansdale concert in the parkIts here. Spring. Summer. Outdoor events.

Check your old stuff, plan for new stuff. custom or stock.