Code considerations in fabric structure design

May 1, 2010

By James A. Strapko Elegance, airiness and sculptural possibilities may motivate an architect to incorporate a fabric structure in a building design. Implications of this choice are not limited to building form. Design of a fabric structure as part of a large-scale commercial project may require an architect to collaborate with a manufacturer to properly …

The cost of building fabric structures (part 1)

January 1, 2010

Experienced professionals comment on how much it costs to build fabric structures By Samuel J. Armijos Editor’s note: Part 2 of this two-part series on cost estimating appears in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue. The hardest part of designing and building a fabric structure is determining its cost. There are three major components to a fabric …

Tension structure connection details

God is in the details when it comes to tension structure design Ludwig Mies van der Rohe got it right when he said “God is in the details.” Another well-worn phrase has it that we must sweat the details and the big things will take care of themselves, so with this article we look at …

Aging of membrane materials

November 17, 2009

How to keep membrane materials looking new over time. By Mark Zeh Unlike Henry Ford, who claimed you could get his automobiles in any color as long as it was black, fabric structures do come in more than one color. However, sometimes these alternate colors are unintentional. Here are several tips on keeping things looking …

The advantages of inflatable structures

October 26, 2009

Flexible and economical, air-supported structures fill multiple market niches. By Holly O’Dell When it comes to inflatable products, many people think of bouncy castles, parade floats or dancing tubes used for advertising. But the world of air-supported structures, or inflatables, extends far beyond the use of entertainment and advertising to industrial, military, architectural and aerospace …

Hearing fabric

September 1, 2009

The why and wherefore of designing for sound with textiles. By Todd Willmert All building materials are acoustical; all affect how sound is reflected, absorbed or transmitted. Through materials, sound can be sustained through reflection or made to dissipate through absorption. Transmission touches on the how much sound is permitted to pass through the material …

Regulatory considerations in the design of fabric awnings

July 1, 2009

By James A. Strapko Awnings in the architectural design process Recent trends in building regulations for commercial and residential projects may push architects toward taking awning design more seriously. In the past, architects have been tempted to view the awning as a discrete, subordinate element of a building envelope. As such, it is a candidate …

Vertical green

May 1, 2009

By Clare Miflin The global population is increasing rapidly, and by 2010 more than 50%, some 3.3 billion people, will live in urban areas. While cities offer opportunities for living with a low ecological footprint, they suffer from pollution, noise and remoteness from nature. Integrating vegetation into the urban fabric improves these quality of life …

Awnings & canopies

April 1, 2009

For decades the choice of awning and canopy fabric was limited to cotton canvas. While cotton offers a great look and feel, it has performance limitations outdoors. Although traditional cotton duck, or canvas, is still used occasionally — especially when specifiers desire a traditional look — synthetics now dominate the market for residential and commercial …

Fabric structures

A fabric structure’s material selection, proper design, engineering, fabrication and installation all work together to ensure a sound structure. The material’s role in the structure’s performance makes the selection process especially important. This is particularly true with tensile and air-supported structures because their membranes, as well as their frames, carry the loads. Membrane materials Most …