When you think about outdoor spaces for people to congregate, a water tower is probably not on the list. But on the campus of Penn State University, State College, Pa., a new water tower located next to the Palmer Museum of Art and the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture was the perfect spot to create a gathering place.
Under the 140-foot tower, a seating and stage space was created, covered by a tensile structure initially designed by Derek Kalp, PLA, ASLA, and landscape architect at the Penn State Physical Plant, and students at the Stuckeman School. The canopy serves two purposes: protection from the elements and providing a defined space that minimizes the effect of the large tower.
Pennsylvania-based companies Signature Structures and Lightweight Manufacturing Inc. worked together to manufacture the tensile canopy, made of a Flexlight™ Xtrem TX30-III membrane from Serge Ferrari, a world leader in flexible composite material technology.
The fabric features a patented crosslink technology that makes it extremely durable in harsh conditions, achieved by applying a coating under biaxial tension (along both the warp and the weft) throughout the manufacturing cycle. The flexible frame, made from high-tenacity PET microcables, is coated with several layers of polymers, followed by a dirt-resistant surface treatment. The process creates unique properties in terms of resistance, dimensional stability and weight, eliminating deformation due to load.
The canopy is finished with changing LED lights, creating a welcoming space to enjoy the outdoors day or night, no matter the weather. For more information, visit www.sergeferrari.com.