Tag Archives: Fabritec

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.


Expo ’92 Seville. The inspiration of a FabricArchitect

Sevilla_Expo_92-Avenida_de_EuropaI have great memories of Expo ’92 in Seville. There was so much fabric there. So much excitement. The idea of using fabric structures from pavilion roofs ( See German Pavilion) to walls (see Grimshaw’s British Pavilion) to creating fabric towers to increase air movement (see Avenida Europa).

What fabric structure inspired you to design and think in fabric?

The Next BIG Thing.

420aI’ve been checking out the latest Architecture and Construction magazines  and reading all the Google Alerts pertaining to buildings and spaces and I am wondering what the next big thing is in our industry.

The Star Architects are doing pretty much the same thing while many Architects out there are pushing the envelope with  “net zero” and “sustainable” concepts.

Special Event structures for the World’s Fair, Olympics and Sports Championships are all watching the bottom line while the unstable world economy is keeping every developer from really making some noise.

So what do you think will be the next BIG thing?

Here are my top five big things:

1. Someone unveils a way to reduce or eliminate the mobile phone bill.

Free mobile.

2. Someone unveils a way to reduce or eliminate their utility bill.

Plug and play Net Zero.

3. Someone unveils a way to reduce or eliminate their gas bill.

No car, no problem. Yes car, no problem.

4. Someone unveils a new business or industry based on a new use or need for Architectural Fabrics.

DIY Fabric Structures.

5. Someone unveils a new fabric or film which takes over the the construction industry.

Bubble Structures. Create, Use, Pop.

What’s your idea?

Porte Cochere de Fabric

Hyat render

How many French architectural terms do you know?

A porte-cochere also known as a “carriage porch” is the architectural term for a porch or portico-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building.

It is primarily function allows a horse and or motor vehicle to top under such a structure in order for the occupants to be dropped off or picked up  protected from the elements.

old hyatt pixThe porte-cochere was a feature of many late 18th and 19th-century homes and public buildings like Buckingham Palace and the White House.

Today, they are often constructed at the entrance to public buildings such as churches, hotels, health facilities, homes, and schools.

The porte-cochere has been made with a number of materials including fabric. This project in Princeton was originally made a skeleton frame and canvas.

New HyattThe new one for the Princeton Hyatt designed by BLT Architects out of Philadelphia and fabricated and installed by Fabritec Structures uses architectural exposed steel and Teflon coated fiberglass.

Its Shade, Signage and Shelter.

Now, how many French architectural terms do you know?

Fabric Structures on Ebay?

SAMSUNGNot exactly.
But when the mechanical system on top of Ebay’s building in Draper, UT is in need to be covered, fabric structures is an ideal solution.

It all started with a phone call and a picture of the existing condition. A huge AC cooler on top of a brand new building designed by the SmithGroup. Drive to and from the building and you can tell that it takes away from a beautiful glass and steel structure sitting on IMG_0231the desert landscape.

The solution is simple. Build a steel frame and enclose the frame with some kind of cladding. A couple of issues come to mind. In Utah, there is heavy wind and snow. The cladding will need to be able to take that. Traditional cladding materials like perforated metal or plastics might work but besides being expensive by themselves, they would require alot more steel frame work  to attach to. Also, they are bulking and require cranes and other equipment to get them on the roof and support them during install.

Fabric is lightweight, fire resistant and comes in a variety of colors and widths. Once we got the shop drawings of the steel frame, we could then make membrane panels in our shop, ship them to site, get them on the roof easily and install them in a timely manner.ebay 7

This solution is not just for new construction. Many building’s roofs require screening, shading and new ways to improve their overall appearance. Architectural Fabrics have life spans of 10, 20 and even 30 years. All our designs are looked at by designers, engineers, project managers and installer who know all about roofs.

Send us a bid or let us make you an offer.

Back to Work

IMG_2228After a long holiday weekend, its back to work. The summer has been brutal so far this year in the United States.

Heavy rains in some areas and temperature close to 100 degrees on the East and West Coast.

Shade and shelter isn’t a luxury item, it’s a necessity. The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) knows how to take care of its users. The pedestrian walkways at Vienna Metro Station are covered with fabric structures.

IMG_2238So whether you are coming off a bus or train or parked your car in the parking garage, these canopies keep you cool and dry.

It can’t help you getting there on time:)

Fabric Structures and Airports

AMBI1894Most people think of the Denver Airport when it comes to fabric structures in the USA but you may be under a fabric structure in another airport and not even know it.

Fabric Structure do not always have to make a grand statement or be seen from miles away. The most common place to find them is at the departure and arrival areas at many Airports across the country. If you travel quite a bit, you might know that the picture above is from the San Diego Airport.

You get dropped off or picked up with out getting wet. You might be standing under one in the hot sun waiting for your shuttle to come by.

Its all included in making your travel experience enjoyable. No charge.

San Diego Int'l Airport ~ San Diego CA

Now which umbrella do you want to be under?

umbrellas againHave you ever been under a fabric structure?
I’m sure you have.
If you had your choice of being under a small umbrella or a big one, which would you choose?

Fabric Structures come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes it makes more sense to build one big one than a few small ones but somestimes an umbrella within an umbrella helps in giving a sense of scale to a place.

One size doesn’t fit all.

Meet you at the Fabric Structure

Sea Lion Sound St Louis ZooCan you find the fabric structure in this picture?
Of course you can.
Its white.
Its stands out.
It makes you smile.

Fabric Structures come in all shapes and sizes and one thing it does do, is make you look.

Maybe because it reminds you of a circus tent or party tent you were once in.

Or maybe because it doesn’t look like everything else.

Or maybe its hot or raining and you need some shelter.

Meet me under the fabric structure.

Lightweight Architecture: What makes people want to go to a Tent Sale?

car_dealershipIts warming up in the Northeast (USA) so that means garden centers, outdoor restaurant seating and tent sales are opening up everywhere.

Tent Sale?

I went online to see if I could learn about the history of the “tent sale”. No such luck. Who came up with that idea? It seems like a couple of times a year stores, especially car dealerships, set up tents in their parking lots to sell more products, offer discounts and extend their selling space. The tents are erected to attract customer, cover products and people from inclement weather and they’re just fun.

But why only a couple of times a year?

Classic_HUMMER_Grapevine_Texas_300dpiIf you plan properly, you can design and build a lightweight fabric structure that provide shade, signage and shelter all year-long.

Shade is good.

Shade Structures protect people from harmful UV rays and keeps things cool.


Everyone knows when the circus is in town. You can get a really cool fabric structure built that  everybody will remember or use as a meeting point or for directions.


Frosken1You can use a fabric structure for a variety of purposes. Use it for special events, employee lounge, clearance sales, outdoor eating, job fairs, fashion shows, demonstrations, the sky’ the limit.