Tag Archives: Teflon Coated Fiberglass

Night and Day

Here’s a project in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

It’s an entrance for a high end residential complex.

Fabric structures are not all white and come in all shapes and sizes.

 

It was designed for both day and night.

Its been about 10 years!

 

It’s good to see an old friend.

 

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!

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.

Do you really NEED a fabric structure?

IMG_3477Not really.

To Live, you NEED water, food and shelter.

Everything else is a WANT.

Well, do you really WANT a Fabric Structure?

It all depends.

If you are looking for a lightweight structure that provides protection from the Elements and happens to also improve the aesthetics of your place or space, then you WANT a fabric structure.

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 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

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?

Green Fabric Architecture

TF.sun shades 002I’ve been involved in the fabric structure industry since 1985 when I came upon an issue of Progressive Architecture featuring white tension fabric structures made of Teflon coated fiberglass. The Haj Terminal in Saudi Arabia was on the cover of construction magazines all over the world and the idea of creating “modern tents” for the modern nomad was on the horizon. The terminal was designed to produce natural ventilation and protect millions of passengers from the hot desert climate.Lightweight structures was hot.

Twenty five plus years later, these unique structures continue to be seen around the world . Fabric Structures, retractable fabric roofs, ETFE “transparent” structures and textile facades are now quite common and on many drawing boards as the solution for shade, signage and shelter.

Today, “Sustainability” and “Being Green” are the key words in the building industry. Only a couple of years ago, “Green” Design and Construction approached Sustainability as “doing the right thing.” Today, the client and market are demanding all things be “Green”.

How do fabric structures fit?

Fabric Structures are the original “sustainable” roof. The design and membrane are adaptable to its environment. The membrane can be retractable, it can be designed to increase air movement, it can reflect the sun’s rays and reduce the amount of energy needed to provide human comfort in a building. It reduces heat island effect and is made with materials that are recyclable.

Fabric structures are not all about dome stadiums and large airports. They come in all shapes and sizes and they are used in educational, healthcare, assisted living, commercial, institutional, parks, retail, and industrial facilities, just to name a few.

Being under a shade structures or sitting under a fabric structure to eat, watch a sport or relax is priceless.

Go Green Fabric Structures.

Fabric Structure V’s

We are getting down to the last few letters and The FabricArchitect still has words to use. When it comes to the letter “V”, the words that come to mind are:

  • Valley Cable
  • Verseidag Fabric
  • Velodrome

Valley Cables

Valley cables are pretty self explanatory but often misunderstood, poorly detailed or installed incorrectly. These cables are used to “keep down” the membrane from uplift forces on a structure.

Usually associated with “folded plate” style forms, they are normally constructed with a coated “jacket” on them because they are sitting on top of the membrane. They are sometime covered yet again after they are installed or left exposed to the elements. The end fittings require them to have some adjustment to them otherwise they have a tendency to flutter if not properly tensioned.

Verseidag Fabric

Verseidag is a manufacturer of membrane material located in Germany. They are one of the few companies worldwide that offer both PTFE and PVC fabrics. Duraskin is the brand name they go by for architectural membranes.

Velodrome

One of the more interesting and growing sports is the sport of bicycle or track racing. A Velodrome is an arena for Track racing.

Velodromes may be indoors or outdoors. Indoor tracks are not affected by weather and are more comfortable for spectators (i.e. see London 2012 Olympics). They ride smoother and last longer.

Despite the advantages of indoor tracks, outdoor velodromes are more common. However, there is more interest and fabric seems the be the material of choice for these venues.

“W” is next.

R U interested in Fabric Structures?

It’s been a while since my last blog.

Been busy trying to get Architects, Designers and clients to use fabric structures more often.

Today, The FabricArchitect looks at the letter “R”.

I just came back from exhibiting at both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) convention and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and realized how much the letter “R” is used in design.

Retail

Shopping Centers and fabric structures? Why of course. What material provides shade, shelter and signage better than fabric? It is used as an awning, umbrella, canopy, facade, pedestrian walkway, etc. The skys the limit.

Resorts

Image is everything and so is the experience when it comes to resort design. The shade structure over the lounge chairs, the cabana, the porte cochere. All nice words and what better way to create that  vision than with Fabric.

Residential

A tent for every home? Maybe not but why not. The outdoor family room, the seasonal tent for a BBQ, the party tent, the gazebo. All great ideas which work in fabric.

Restaurants

Both owner and end user love this! Owners love to use that outdoor space. Customers always want the table outside. Fabric structures solve that on both a sunny and rainy day.

You ready to shop?

You ready to eat?

You ready to play?

The Answer?

Outdoor Living.

Try a fabric structure on your next retail, restaurant, residential and resort experience.

Next week, you will be ready for some “S”.