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March 8, 2016

Why Tensile Architecture is underutilised

Tensile architecture is being more and more widely used than ever before, with previous and upcoming Olympic stadiums making the most of it, and with various premier division football clubs putting out tenders for a tensile roofing revamps.  However, whilst this type of tensile architecture is well noted and utilized in roofs due to its clear span capabilities reach and reduced steel works, there is another aspect of tensile architecture which is overwhelmingly underutilized.  But why?  Why aren’t architects using a technology which makes dated architecture current, offers versatile and innovative options for new buildings, and in a world run on commerce, gives the opportunity for large and easily changeable advertising spaces.

Tensile Media Facades

Tensile Media Facades with LED lighting systems are a cost effective way of creating space that previously wasn’t open for promotional opportunities.  Because of tensile membranes lightweight structure, there are far more options for installation than before, previous bill boards have been made using video screens, which means great expense when considering a football stadium.  Also the weight of these screens means unsightly supporting structures and increased steelwork engineering requirements; which as we all know means increased installation costs.

Interactive Membrane Facades

Interactive Membrane Facades can be fitted to structures where previously it wasn’t possible, for example round or glass buildings – being able to follow the curve of the building in keeping the original architecture allows a vibrant addition that isn’t at odds with its environment.  This also adds a certain elegance to the facade – advertising can often be seen as invasive, however incorporated into a fluid design that appears to float above a building can only add to its sophistication.

When fitting these facades, transparency is a key factor in the design.  When turned off the architecture isn’t left with an eyesore but with a transparent fabric which blends seamlessly into the building.  Tensile membranes can give a smooth and fluid finish, as opposed the clunky addition of video screens.  It must be simply a lack education in this field that causes companies to overlook this tool – why continue to use the technology of the past when the future is at your fingertips.

The real joy of interactive media facades is that the architect has the chance to transform purpose built structures into an art form.  The exterior of stadiums are no longer a concrete nightmare, an eyesore to pass before entering into the building. They are now are an active and dynamic part of the stadium, shouting the teams colours, and allowing unfortunate fans who didn’t get tickets the chance to watch the game on the exterior screens, and experiencing no less of the interior atmosphere.  And isn’t that what architecture is about, the evolution and changing of space.  An area which was once a car park becomes part of the experience itself, and a wall which was once just a wall now generates revenue opportunities and becomes a representational feature of the building.

Shade Sculpture is a leading developer of this technology and we are currently looking for collaborative suppliers who can enhance our offerings in the supply and implementation of these media facades.  We relish discussing options and opportunities, whether it is bringing a stadium in the 21st century, or assisting in creating unique marketing opportunities.  We take not only pride, but joy in being able to share ideas in order to take a leap forward in creating something truly unique.

With the new fabrics that are on the market, media facades using tensile architecture is set to become even more cost effective.  The main fabrics used are coloured ETFE, Tenara and PTFE’s.  These fabrics offer long lifespans, with easy maintenance.  For more information about these fabric membranes please click on the links below:

To read more about EFTE here

To read more about PTFE, click the below link 

Read more about Tenara here

To get in touch with us, please contact us on +44 (0)1249 848649 Or email us on: . For a direct personal contact email