Textiles and fabrics have always been a growing industry. As delicate as it may seem gradually with time Fabrics has set its foot in the construction industry. While fabrics usually cannot stand on their own, they have been designed to derive their strength from tension. The key, however, lies in providing a structural framework that locks the mesh in a stable state. The idea behind using fabrics isn’t something brand new, but through advances in modern technology, we can witness a resurgence of this element in construction. Today we bring you a list of 10 such iconic projects. Let’s have a look –   

1. King Fahad National Library Riyadh by Gerber Architekten, Saudi Arabia

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Centred along with the Olaya District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the national library stands tall at about 25000 sqft – 100,000 sqft. It stands out from the heterogeneous building patterns, making it an iconic façade. The continuous strips of white fabrics are situated over steel and a wire framework in a way that introduces protection from – UV rays, curvature and depth.

The square’s new structure in the centre of the existing Urban Park looks light and open and is tied into the urban space despite its size. The park redesigned includes parts of the available green space as a spacious square and helps form the library as an urban unit, making the library an iconographic centre of a prestigious urban quarter, making it increasingly important for the future years.

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2. Soundforms by Flanagan Lawrence, London.

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Sound forms are a Superior outdoor performance shell that’s about acoustics. Built-in 2012, this pace occupies about 1000 sqft area. This performance hall can be permanent or portable and can see lightweight tensile or inflatable construction.

The performance hall is available in three sizes, but the sculpted organic form stays constant. An intensive acoustic and material research point is the optimal vessel for unparalleled acoustic projection. The skin membrane is white PVC-coated polyester fabric. Besides its acoustical properties, the structural fabric has unmatched durability, and strength, and features self-cleaning capabilities.

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3. Cape Town Stadium by GMP Architects, Louis Karol & Associates, and Point Architects, Cape Town

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The Cape Town stadium is situated next to the Atlantic Ocean. This African stadium is a soft-bodied building mimicking the pull of its nearby surrounding. The bones of the stadium flow radically towards the outside, creating a truss structure that sports a vale membrane wrapping around the structure.

A translucent PTFE silver coated glass mesh fabric is used to provide breathability and translucency. The shell structure offset is given by a soft fabric.

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4. Arena Da Amazônia by Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Manaus

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The Arena Da Amazonia is a stadium built-in 2014 in Manaus. They developed a steel roof structure in a way to hide the structure’s framework. A diagonally arranged steel roof was designed to support the cantilevered steel box girders and secondary steel structures. The fabric stretches over 300,000 sqft. Over the stadium that touches the ground in delicate petal shapes. From the inside, the framework and the complex structure are revealed.

The structural fabric is made from 252 pieces of PTFE membrane/ glass and provides superior strength, consistency, and longevity.

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5. Zenith de Strasbourg by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Strasbourg

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Structural Fabric translates excellently into larger applications. Zenith de Strasbourg, meaning biggest or large in French is a 100, 0000 square meters event space located just outside of the city of Strasbourg, between the suburbs and city centre. The architect conceived of a geometric lamp which could drive energy and form the horizontal landscape.

The massive event space uses Atex 5000 TRL by the Valmiera glass group, a flexible fabric that glides all over its skeleton structure. The bright orange-coloured membrane is opaque during the day and at night as the concerts get underway, the fabric lights from inside reveal its steel framework from beneath.

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6. House in Yanakacho by Taiga Kasai and Chong Aehyang Architecture, Japan

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The House in Yanakacho is a private residence in Japan built in 2020 with an area of 173 sqm. The house is beautifully designed by erecting a translucent polycarbonate enclosure around the structure to keep it distinguished from its surrounding. The publically used areas in the residence are placed on the ground floor making space for private spaces to be placed on the first floor of the structure.

An Outdoor curtain is installed on the outer periphery, allowing the user to use it as opened or enclosed structure according to the user’s choice and providing the user to adjust its relationship in the house or as a community.

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7. United Nations Porte Cochere by FTL Design Engineering Studio, Manhattan

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The United Nations Porte Cochere is located in Manhattan situated next to the temporary building of the General Assembly on the United Nations Campus. The Porte Cochere was created as a security screen and as an entrance pavilion for the delegates of the general assembly. The building provides efficient light; the project is made with a high-tech textile membrane that distributes the load and defuses sunlight.

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8. Marc Jacobs Aoyama Flagship Building by Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects, Tokyo

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The Marc Jacobs flagship is a three–story building located off Omotesando streets in Tokyo’s famous shopping district. The design responds to the strict local code and the surrounding context. The building’s higher level are designed with enormous lanterns created from perforated aluminium panels with extremely customized design patterns and LED illuminated tensile fabric.

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9. F40 Office Building by Petersen Architekten, Friedrichvorstadt

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F40 Office Building by Petersen Architekten is located in Friedrichvorstadt in Germany. It is carefully intertwined with the cultural development of its surroundings. This structure includes textile-faced elements that provide sun protection. It is built in Vertical glass laminates, wood elements, and oriels that interweave with the garden space and the city.

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10. Pavilion and Workshops for Nature Concert Hall by DJA, Latvia

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The Pavilion and Workshops for Nature Concert Hall are created as art object that unifies space, music and light. This project features volumes that refer to existing elements in nature. The pavilion was made to lightly touch its surroundings biotope meadow. White vertical bars define transparency and closeness.

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Online sources

Journal. 2022. Pushing the Boundary: Translucent Fabric and Tensile Façades – Architizer Journal. [online] Available at: https://architizer.com/blog/inspiration/collections/translucent-fabric-facades/

 [Accessed 12 June 2022]. 

Journal. 2022. Under Tension: 5 Projects That Use Fabric as a Building Medium – Architizer Journal. [online] Available at: https://architizer.com/blog/inspiration/collections/structural-fabrics/

 [Accessed 12 June 2022].

Author

Disha is an architecture graduate from Nagpur University, 2021. Being an avid traveler, she has always tried to connect the city’s art & culture with architecture. She is a keen learner & an extremely creative individual who always seeks opportunities to enhance knowledge & experience in the field of architecture.

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