Tag Archives: skin cancer

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!


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.

Why Fabric?

What is. A place is too hot for children, parents…everybody. You can put sunblock on but the playground is hot, the bleachers are hot, even your car is hot when you get back in it.

Warnick DaycareWhat could be. A place that is shaded and protecting people from harmful UV rays. A shade structure over a playground that shades both children and parents. A sports field with covered bleachers. Your car in a cover parking spot.

What is. Playing in a space with artificial lighting because the roof is made of a material which does not allow natural daylight.

FF.Tennis ETFEWhat could be. Playing in a space with a roof made of a transucent membrane that allows natural daylight and eliminates the need for high utility bills. A roof that reflects the heat.

What is. A blank wall surface that lacks architecture yet its face offers so much potential.

TF.Textile Facade ExampleWhat could be. Imagine a bland parking garage transformed into an aesthetically pleasing textile facade. Image the side of your building which is exposed to so many people is all of a sudden a billboard for advertising or branding your company.

What is. A special event is cancelled due to the weather. The band is protected by the audience isn’t. How many rain outs can you afford.

DSC_0076_edited-1What could be. A structure that says “Come and Visit” and the show must go on. Seating in shade at a premium price. Rescheduling is minimized.

What is. A trend is now a requirement. To be “sustainable”, one must look at recyclable materials, designed to reduce the carbon footprint and reduce the amount of energy required to have human comfort.

Rosa Parks Transit CenterWhat could be. Fabric Structures as exterior shading devices. Fabric Structures using materials that are recyclable or have little impact in our landfills. Fabric Structures which do not take much energy to manufacture or install. Fabric Structures that not only provide shade but collect water too.

Why not Fabric?

Fabric Structure “M”‘s: Mast, Moss and Membranes

Sorry for the delay.

I got caught in September’s Hurricaine Irene and lost my basement and office which included my priceless (to me) fabric structure book collection some personal items but as they say, “less is more”. I have less in my house now but I appreciate more what survived the flood.

October brought me an early winter snow storm which left my house with no power for  a week. Lets see…no power…no sump pump working…no refrigerator on…no furnace working. You get the idea.

In November, I managed to get of of town in time to do some business only to find out that I was walking with a  ruptured achilles tendon and I didn’t know it!

I’m on crutches now for months followed by months of rehab.

But I still can talk about fabric structures!

Lessons Learned?

My body is like a fabric structure, it is made of a few components and all components rely on each other as awhole. If one piece is “sick”, in this case my achilles, I need to modify my design or posture, adjust my process or way of completing a task and try to be as light as possible to prevent putting extra weight on my foot or the earth!

In other words, I got to watch my diet!
Today, FabricArchitect talks about the letter “M”.

With “M”, I think of

  • Mast
  • Moss
  • Membrane

In some ways three things you aboslutely need when it comes to designing and building fabric structures.


The mast is the ionic, doric and corinthian column of the tensile world. It is both structure and architecture. It is the spine. It is conduit, support systems and wayfinder. The mast can do so many things so take advantage of it. It can support electrical, sound and be topped with a bale ring left open to the sky or enclosed in glass, metal or a variety of other materials. The perimeter mast can be pin connected or moment connected and be a leader for water or an edge for a sidewall.


I met the Artist Bill Moss when I was in College and the name has lived on to be the name associated with the trade show industry and the interior fabric stuctures. My friend Debra Roth of Pink Inc. now does her thing thru the Moss label and there are many companies out there doing “Moss type” structures (some better, alot worse). Watch out for wannabees. Most of the structures use a stretch fabric and now with improvements in printing  on them, there are unbelievable results. Experiencing Interior fabric sttructures is a great way to get into the business whether as designer, user, client or fan.


The membrane is the skin.  Make note that most, if not all, interior membranes cannot be used outside. Some of the things you can do inside cannot be replicated with an outside structure. Membranes come in all colors and strengths and translucency. For decades now, the industry has been accustom to teflon in the 10-12% range in translucencey, PVC in the 6-15% and Tenara in the 20-40% translucency. Along comes ETFE with transparency ranges from 50-97%. That’s progress.

But what’s next?

I am always looking for the next “skin”.

Fabric with PV cells already embedded in the material? A material that chances color to its mood. More insulated than traditional insulation. Able to “cover” tall building  in a single bound.

Buildings are getting lighter and lighter. Less is more, Light is more, Fabric is even better.

Think out of the box, design out of the box, detail out of the box and you will find yourself building a fabric structure.

See you at “N”.

Fabric Architect Class begins Today: A to Z

Learn and understand the basics of Fabric Structures.

I thought I would start 2011 by taking a step back and giving you the things you need to know about Fabric Structures from A to Z.

Today, I am going to start with the letter A.

  • Awnings
  • Anchors
  • Amphitheaters


Awnings are lightweight fabric structures made of  acrylic, cotton or polyester, just to name a few. It is stretched over a frame made of wood, steel or aluminum. Most awning forms are made in traditional architectural shapes such as a simple gable, shed or barrel vault. However they can come in all shapes and sizes too. Awnings are still made the old fashion way by sewing panels of material together but they are also “RF welded” together or “stapled” on a frame. Personally, I like the “steelstitch” or staple system awning systems. Its clean, attractive and cost effective.

Today, in addition to providing protection from the elements and reducing direct solar heat gain on a building, awnings are mini billboards and branding opportunities for any one who choses to take advantage of this product. They can increase the amount of your living, working and selling  space and can transform your space and give it new life.

Extend your entrance, Expand your dining area, create shelter for your employees or patrons. Doing more with less.

Want to be sustainable?

Ask for Sustainable materials or go retractable (Open and close and you wish).


Fabric Structures are anchored in a number of ways: Either with a concrete footing or to a structural steel plate attached to a building. When you are designing a custom fabric structure, it is common to have reactions or loads provided by the Engineer or fabricator in order to properly size and build the anchors. Some loads on fabric structures are in tension only and that allows one to consider another type of foundation or anchor.  That type of anchor comes in the form of “earth” anchors. In simple terms, that’s using the earth to support your fabric structure. You can put stakes in the ground like tent companies do for easy removal and temporary structures, but for larger and more custom applications, earth anchors can be cost effective and sustainable.

The anchors are driven with conventional hydraulic equipment similar to what you might see a Utility company use for installing communication lines. Once driven to the proper depth, the rod/tendon attached to the anchor is pulled to rotate the anchor into undisturbed soil – like a toggle bolt. The anchor is pulled upon to reach the holding capacity required and has very little impact on the existing soil. My preference? Manta Rays.

Another type is an” helical auger stake” which I see more for small and medium size structures. They work much like a wine cork opener in which you screw a plate and rod into the ground and do the same test for holding capacity. What’s nice about these is that they have minimal soil disturbance. I like the augers from A.B. Chance.


All this talk about Awnings and Anchors makes me want to design!

An amphitheatre or amphitheater is an open-air venue used for entertainment and performances. Modern amphitheatres feature a theatrical style stage with the audience only on one side, usually at an arc of less than a semicircle. They are typically man-made, though there are also  natural amphitheatres using the existing slope of the land. Open air venues are nice but there is increasing need to have these performance facilities covered.


1. The Show must go on and a little rain or too much sun shouldn’t cancel an event. Fabric Structures can cover the performers, the audience or both. Most major city’s have incorporated a covered amphitheater as part of their city scape. Don’ Believe me? See Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, Charlottesville. Need more proof? I got more.

2. Skin Cancer. Too much sun can be bad for both performer and audience. Skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the nation. Research indicates that most people receive as much as 80 percent of their total lifetime sun exposure during their first 18 years. One severe sunburn during childhood may double the risk of developing melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of cancer, later in life. Being exposed to the sun for a 1-3 hour event could be quite dangerous.

3. Acoustics.  Covered or uncovered, there are so many forms of entertainers and they all have different needs. Some use amplified sounds, others use none at all. The design of a covered amphitheater needs to be able to adapt to a number of different sounds. If you are looking at covering an amphitheater, make sure you bring on an acoustical consultants with you. I like JaffeHolden.

Ampthitheaters, like all fabric structures, come in all shapes and sizes AND Costs. Don’t think you can’t afford one until you do your research. You may only need a bandshell (I’ll tell you more about them when we get to the B’s).

Got an idea for your town to build new or transform an existing amphitheater?

Let’s do it.

Make Money, Save Money and Stay Healthy with Fabric Structures?

In today’s society, not to mention economy, people want and need the following:

  • To make money (job or business),
  • Save money (reduce spending, pay down debt)
  • Stay healthy (otherwise you won’t be able to make or save money).

My goal is to assist YOU by making fabric structures that can make you money, save you money and keep you or your clients healthy.

How do I do that?

Let me show you.

Make money.

Fabric structures covering anything (farmers market, sports, retail, music performance) can be bought, sold or rented and have more value than something without a cover.

Another area can be covering cars, man’s next best friend. Parking areas that have a fabric structure covering and protecting cars can provide additional revenue for airport, mass transit, retail centers, and stadium operators.

Save Money.

Have you seen your utility bill lately? Fabric Structures can be used as exterior shading devices or textile facades to reduce the amount of heat gain on a building thus reducing utility costs. They can also be designed as an environmentally friendly unit where the structures are designed to collect water for reuse in bathrooms or for landscaping.

Keep you healthy

Fabric structures protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. That keeps the body cool and your heart rate up. Pretty simple.

Whether you want one or need one, it’s never too early or late to get a fabric structure.

Let me help YOU.

Fabric Structures a cure for Skin Cancer?

Not a cure but it sure reduces the risk.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.

There are three main types of skin cancer:

  • basal cell carcinoma
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • melanoma.

Melanoma is the most common and serious form of skin cancer.

When detected and treated in its earliest stages, most skin cancers are highly curable.

Why do I tell you this?

The best way to lower the risk of skin cancer is to limit exposure to the sun (and other sources of ultraviolet light). When outdoors, long clothing and hats are nice but being under a shade structure is priceless.

Protection is equally important during childhood, since severe sunburns in childhood may be associated with an increased risk of developing melanoma later in life.

Better to be safe than sorry.