Tensioned fabric dresses up hand-made boats

September 1, 2008

Traditional Mexican trajineras take on the latest technology to provide a stylish pleasure ride. By Steve Fredrickson The Aztecs may well have invented a form of canoe used for transportation called trajineras. Similar in function to the Italian gondola rides, the trajineras (or “hauling boat” in Spanish), were designed to move people from place to …

Dramatic freestanding canopy protects medical center patients

Adding a dramatic canopy at the entrance to the UT Southwest Medical Center improved the patient experience. By Steve Fredrickson Studies show that a quality environment has as much to do with swift patient recovery as the quality of the medicine dispensed by staff. It only makes sense that a green, plant filled settings can …

Composites allow creation of custom materials

Composites have mind-bending properties and endless applications. By Katherine Carlson It sounds like science fiction: portable airport hangars supported by columns of air, paper that conducts electricity and synthetic mother-of-pearl that can be bent without breaking. We have now entered The Matrix, but don’t expect to see Keanu Reeves in a black coat defying gravity …

Tension revisited –2: IDN

An ongoing review of tension structure software. Reviewed by Joseph Schedlbauer NDN is a new software package that has been developed specifically for the tensile membrane engineering industry. It combines model building, form finding, analysis, member sizing and patterning into one program. It has video game style graphics and a friendly user interface. I had …

Designing fabric structures

Three quick steps to success. By Samuel J. Armijos Step one: Do your research The best way to incorporate a fabric structure in a project or design a stand-alone fabric structure is to see what has already been done. Magazines such as Fabric Architecture, books on fabric structures and basic searches on the Internet using …

Ground control in northern California

Stabilizing a “living roof” with biodegradable geotextile and interlocking plant trays helps the new California Academy of Sciences building blend into hilly surroundings. By Shelby Gonzalez Lead architect Renzo Piano envisioned the new California Academy of Sciences (CAS) building as an organic part of its setting, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. So his design crowned …

Hotel entrance canopy evokes the earth and sea

By Jamie Swedberg To a guest at the 132-room Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa, it’s obvious what separates this place from other hotels. The property is the world’s first and only Gold LEED™ Certified hotel, which means that it has met rigorous environmental sustainability standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design …

Zenith performance space in Strasbourg wraps itself in color and light

By Helen Elias Close your eyes and think of a traditional Chinese lantern — one of those round, red ones that look like it might have been pulled out of the center of a concertina. Push the shape around just a little, until it is almost elliptical, and color it a bright, vibrant orange. Then …

Sustainable headquarters features fabric stitched into building

The headquarters of fashion designer Hugo Boss. Space for more than 300 employees and design studios is neatly tucked into the Hugo Boss center for design and development, located in the tiny Swiss village of Coldrerio not far from the Italian border. Although the staff for the designer label may number in the hundreds, the …

Fabric façades

New sustainable advantages can be found by wrapping a building in fabric. By Steve Fredrickson Fabric façades are quickly becoming an important component in today’s architectural world, in large part due to their ease of design but, more importantly, as a means to drastically reduce energy consumption of buildings. This article is designed to not …