From the 02 Arena to Skysong, the Tensile Fabric Structures can make a huge impact. With the announcement that Google’s new campus is to have a photovoltaic canopy, the spotlight is firmly back on innovative and incredible structures that rely on fabric to make an impact.
Tensile structures aren’t new and sites such as spatialstructures.com/building-systems-explained can show you just what they can do and how much it might cost. The Google campus promised to be truly revolutionary in the use of its photovoltaic net to generate energy for the site. The use of inspirational canopies is also nothing new. Here are 5 of the best.
1. 1972 Munich Olympic Park
Designed by Frei Paul Otto, the godfather of tensile architecture, this lightweight structure was meant as a counterpoint to the monumental, heavyweight structures of the Third Reich. Otto’s interest in using fabric began when he started constructing shelters for himself and his fellow soldiers in World War 2.
2. The 02 Arena, London
Originally thought of as a white elephant, the Millennium Dome, as it was originally known, is now one of the most recognisable structures in the world and is one of the largest fabric domes in existence. Designed by Richard Rogers, it measures 365m in diameter, is supported by 12 beams and resembles a giant clock face.
3. The Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre, Kazakhstan
At 150m in height, this is the tallest tensile structure in the world and shows what a tensile structure designer Fabric Architecture like Norman Foster is capable of. The three layers of ETFE cushions help to guard against the extremes of temperature in the country, and the cable net covers over 100,000 square feet, covering cinemas, restaurants and exhibition space.
4. The Serpentine Gallery, London
Flowing like a wave from the original brick structure of the Serpentine Gallery, this elegant and extraordinary glass fibre tensile structure is the work of the late Zaha Hadid, the ‘Queen of the Curve’. Curvaceous furniture is built into the fabric of the structure which is supported by five steel columns that taper towards a series of skylights.
5. Skysong, USA
Sitting at the very heart of the ASU campus in Arizona, this amazing glass fibre structure covers approximately 50,000 square feet and provides a shaded courtyard at the very heart of the campus. The swooping structure, anchored by a series of A-frame poles, has quickly become iconic and is the perfect visual architectural complement to the innovation centre at its heart.