Structurflex LLC, Kansas City, Mo. & Structurflex Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand
This is the first single-layer ETFE membrane system, which won an Award of Excellence in the commercial canopies category of the 2008 International Achievement Awards, built in North America. It is a lightweight and semitransparent covering for an outdoor courtyard at Kansas City’s new mixed-use development known as the Power and Light District. The nine-block area is anchored by the “Live!” block and is covered by the ETFE membrane. This area is known as “Kansas City’s Living Room.” The canopy was designed and developed to provide protection from rain and snow, offer some shading and generally define the space. The original concept called for a glass roof; however, it greatly exceeded the project’s budget. A conventional steel canopy was then considered, but the large and heavy structure, coupled with a galvanized metal deck, would zap away the energy that the space was meant to generate. The client had obvious requirements for lightness and transparency. Structurflex proposed a turnkey system for the design, engineering, membrane, structure and construction of the canopy. Being able to offer both fabric and ETFE was a definite advantage and both options required less structure and, therefore, less cost than a glass or metal clad canopy.