A bright future: fabrics that generate electricity

August 1, 2019

Pvilion’s Colin Touhey is working to forge strategic partnerships to integrate photovoltaic technology into all kinds of fabric products.  by Jill C. Lafferty Every time you are building what you think is a one-off project, you’re probably going to do something similar a second time, a third time, a hundredth time,” says Colin Touhey, CEO …

Protecting shoppers from monsoon rains

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA The feeling is nothing short of amazing, say patrons of La Isla Mérida, the biggest shopping mall in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where the streets between stores are covered completely with a transparent membrane. The city of Mérida, located near the northern coast of the Yucatán facing the Gulf …

Michele Quadri-Butterfield keeps Al’s Awning Shop up to date and focused on customers

July 1, 2019

by Jill C. Lafferty The mission of Al’s Awning Shop is to be the leading provider of quality fabric solutions and to be dedicated to providing professional customer service and exceptional products,” says owner Michele Quadri-Butterfield. “Fabric solutions is key for me. It’s about taking a fabric and helping the customer find the solution to …

Dramatic canopy offers protection high above the city

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA The Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, in Charlotte N.C., has a stunning 19th-floor lawn and event deck overlooking the city. The popular venue hosts weddings and other large gatherings, and the hotel needed a retractable canopy to protect patrons from sun, rain and high winds that may swirl about the 20-story …

Membrane structure keeps museum visitors cool

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA As marine museums go, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science goes the extra nautical mile to fully engage visitors with its message of sustainable ecology. Designed by the acclaimed British design firm Grimshaw Architects, the Frost Museum is a complex of four buildings located within view of the …

Mitigating heat and courting shade for shoppers in Hawaii

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA Shade is often one of the most important design considerations for public venues in Hawaii, especially on the leeward (away from the wind) side of an island. Such is the case on Oahu, where the Ka Makana Ali‘i shopping center is located.  A center court at the recently built Ka Makana retail …

Denver’s ‘boomerang’ bus hub keeps visitors coming back

June 1, 2019

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA There’s something about Denver, Colo., and the use of fabric structures. First came the Denver International Airport, with its iconic peaked fabric roof of the Jeppesen Terminal (1995) designed by Fentress Bradburn Architects. The conical skylights were reportedly inspired by the Rocky Mountains backdrop to the airport. Then, in 2014, …

Shade sails tackle solstice extremes

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA Arizona is known for stunning landscapes and a warm climate. Most homes in this area have some form of shaded outdoor living space, where Arizonians can enjoy the temperate weather. Working closely with a client with a request for her residence, Shade Industries® of Phoenix designed a custom, elegant structure …

World’s longest canopy skylight features ETFE cushions

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA Like a sinuous paper dragon in a Chinese parade, bobbing and weaving between rooftops and towers, the Shimao “Dream Street” Plaza canopy floats above the sidewalk in a bejeweled state. Composed of about 406 trapezoidal ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cushions, it is framed in a long unfolding strip on structural stilts …

Crafting shade at Auvents Ombrasole Awning

May 1, 2019

Ombrasole designs, manufactures and installs awnings of all types for North American climates—many of which feature Emilio Petrongolo’s custom and patented motors. Emilio Petrongolo can trace his fascination with canvas and sewing back to his childhood in Italy, where his grandmother made jute bags for storing wheat. Petrongolo, director of R&D and marketing at Auvents …