Tag Archives: Serge Ferrari

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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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!

Fabric Structure Samplings

Christo and Jeanne Claude's Wrapped Reichstag, 1995Picking the right fabric can be the key to everything.

We all know what a piece of wood, brick or glass feels like.

We can go outside and find an example pretty quickly.

What about fabric?

We can look at an awning or tent or think about our umbrella or jacket.

When you start thinking about building a structure out of fabric that provides, shade, last a long time and that you can apply graphics to (just to name a few), there are plenty of different fabrics to choose from.

How do you start?

Here’s my suggestion (if I forgot a manufacturer, let me know):

PTFE (30 year life span, Class A non-combustible fabric, permanent)

Saint Gobain, Chukoh, Verseidag, Taconic, Obeikan, Sefar

PVC (20-25 year life span, Fire Retardant)

Serge Ferrari, Seaman, Mehler, Naizil

Ask for a sample and see what you get and how fast you get it.

Let me know if I can help.

Customer Service and being able to touch and feel the fabric is a great first step.