Tag Archives: sustainable design

Diary of the FabricArchitect: Research and Design

habitat1 copyIts snowing again.

It seems like it’s always snowing in Upstate New York.

I went to Graduate School at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where I learned the concept of “Research and Design”.

Architect Phillip Johnson once said “You cannot not know history”. I learned in Graduate School the importance of knowing what’s been done before in order to not make the same mistake and to learn from what’s been done before.

While at school, I took side trips over the weekend to places like Falling Water, The Glass House, Columbus, Indiana and Habitat ’67, just to name a few. Great places, great spaces. I imagined my Dad joining me on my trips. I recall one of my professors telling me that my thesis had to be my passion. Something you would be willing to research for the rest of your life. It was hard to narrow it down back then with so much exciting Architecture being designed and built at the time.

1107-ga-4I spent day and night in the library trying to find a topic that interested me when I came upon a copy of Progressive Architecture featuring the Haj Terminal in Saudi Arabia.  The Haj Terminal was this incredible tented structure airport that covered acres of desert sand. I started reading articles by John Morris Dixon and Tom Fisher on this topic and learned about some of the pioneers in this field.

That was the night I discovered my passion.
RPI thesis 003I wrote my thesis on “Fabric Structures in Housing”.

The concept revolves around the potential benefits of fabric structures to extend living space and improve the physical, social and environmental aspects of a space.

I slept, drank, and dreamed about fabric all day and night at school.

It starts to snow again.

For more to the story: www.fabricarchitect.com


That Face

king fahad LibraryMost buildings have a face or facade. The face can be made of a number of different materials. The face can say a lot about a building or nothing at all. Some faces can be a billboard and energy saver at the same time. Some can turn heads. Some can change air movement. Some can capture the sun. Some can be very cheap while some can be very expensive. Some are mirrors which reflect while some can be clear as glass. Some are quite thin and some can be quite thick.

A building facade can express the mood or characteristics  of its citizens; Day or night, Urban or rural. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. They can be timeless or of the moment. Here today, gone tomorrow.

Building facades are much like the clothes we where.

It’s cold out side today. Is your building dressed for the occasion?

New Years Resolutions start early this year

FabricArchitect.com is born

its about peopleThat’s me in the middle.

After 13 years at FabriTec Structures, I am looking for new opportunities and partners. I have formed a new company called FabricArchitect.com to offer sales, marketing, design assistance and project coordination to clients worldwide.

With over 20 years of experience in this unique field of Architecture working as an Architect, Project Manager and in Business Development for a number of firms, I now offer my unique services to the entire industry.

Exciting? Yes. Stressful? Yes.

I have worked on a variety of projects in a variety of materials from awnings to dome stadiums. I have experience working with clients, designers and architectural firms on new materials and new products in the market and have coordinated projects around the world.

The world is changing and this field is changing too. or is it? Some might argue that the industry is flat and not growing. Others will say there are structures being built around the world, its booming.

If a fabric structure was built in a forest, would any one know about it?

We need to find ways to “make a bigger pie” and find new ways to get these structures published and used in other building types besides airports and stadiums, to name just two.

The goal of FabricArchitect.com is to grow the industry and help people get fabric structures built. With a growing number of people, vendors, facilities, materials and products out there, the process of selling, marketing, designing and building fabric structures needs to change.

Examples of what FabricArchitect.com will offer:

• Represent companies at meetings, trade shows and for short and long term assignments.
• Prepare and present Continuing Education presentations and assist manufacturers looking to get specified with Architects.
• Advise Architects, Engineers, Fabricators and Contractors on designs, details, estimates and best practices.
• Research and offer the most appropriate product and service based on the need.

I started FabricArchitect.com in 2008, primarily to educate people on Fabric Structures and promote my book, Fabric Architecture: A resource for creative solutions in Shade, Signage and Shelter. It has evolved into an online resource to link partners and products to clients and consultants.

Social Media is not the future but the present. Few in this industry are using it with a passion. What I’ve learned over the past year is that there is so much information and content out there. The winners are the people with a story and a pretty picture. Fabric Structure images are like no other. Its the story behind the structures which needs to be told.

San PetronioWhat’s your story?

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?

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.