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Two innovative fabric structures used for racing

September 1st, 2007 / By: / Exteriors, Feature

Temporary digs for the annual Cartier Polo Silver Cup in Switzerland, and headquarters for the China-France team for the America’s Cup yacht races in Valencia, Spain.

Alpine splendor

Gstaad, Switzerland, may not command the international diplomacy attention that Geneva or Zurich regularly do; however, it can claim bragging rights as a venue for some top sporting and cultural events, and has become a fashionable mecca for the global jetset.

Nestled in the Bernese Alps in the southwest corner of Switzerland, and just a two-hour drive from Geneva, Gstaad has become the home of the annual Cartier Polo Silver Cup tournament, along with the Swiss Open ATP clay-court tennis championships, and the Yahudi Menuhin Classical Music Festival. The Cartier Polo Silver Cup has developed into one of the most prestigious gatherings of the world’s best polo players. Recently, the tournament took place in front of an elegant backdrop of various VIP tents and the forests of the Saanen. Design of the structures (clearspan framing with taut fabric skins), as well as the stylish decoration inside, let the guests forget that they were in tents. As the entire setup is temporary, the tournament is sustainable and renewable, the tents, fabric structures and seating regularly recycled for use at other events.

Project notes

Client: 10th Cartier Polo Silver Cup

Design/fabrication: Röder Zelt-und Veranstaltungsservice GmbH

Fabric: By Röder

Red dragon, Chinese base

This summer, China made its debut as a participant challenger for the America’s Cup sailboat races in Valencia, Spain. To show the world that it was serious, the China team (in collaboration with the French America’s Cup organization Le Défi) built a base headquarters on the waterfront where the races were conducted. The base, designed by French architect Françoise Raynaud, principal of Loci Anima Architectures, Paris, features a transparent façade and a giant red fabric dragon that drapes over the building and onto a nearby terrace.

On the roof and terrace—where visitors can find information booths, entertainment venues, exhibitions about the China Team effort, and China Team brand merchandise shops—the red tensile fabric “dragon” provides shade and cooling zones out of the direct Mediterranean sun.

The complex follows environmentally sound practices using natural ventilation techniques and extensive fabric shading elements to aid cooling and control natural light during the day.

Project notes

Client: China Team and Le Défi (French) syndicate

Architect: Françoise Raynaud, principal of Loci Anima Architectures

Engineering (fabric dragon): Taiyo Birdair Europe

Fabricator: Taiyo Birdair Europe

Fabric: Ferrari Soltis, red and yellow

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