Home Articles New Tensile Structures that Stands Out

Tensile Structures that Stands Out

tensile structure

A tensile structure is a construction of elements carrying only tension and no compression or bending. The term tensile should not be confused with tensegrity, which is a structural form with both tension and compression elements. Tensile structures are the most common type of thin-shell structures. Most tensile structures are supported by some form of compression or bending elements, such as masts, compression rings or beams.

A tensile membrane structure is most often used as a roof, as they can economically and attractively span large distances. Tensile membrane structures may also be used as complete buildings, with a few common applications being sports facilities, warehousing and storage buildings, and exhibition venues

According to newszak.com report, Architectural Membrane is called The fifth generation building materials, which is the most important part of large-span spatial structures of this kind. Architectural membrane material is commonly formed with matrix and high polymer, which means that it is the outcome of bonded matrix and high polymer in desired thickness and width through specific process. Generally, it is divided into PVC membrane material, PVFE membrane materials and so on. And architectural membrane material is widely applied in large public facilities, such as stadium roof system, airport hall, exhibition center, site, landscape pavilion shed etc. The global architectural membrane market that was valued at 718 Million USD in 2012 is estimated to be worth 747Million USD by the end of 2016.

Architectural membrane downstream is wide and recently architectural membrane has acquired increasing significance in various fields of tensile architecture, tents, sun shading and sun screening, Print applications and others. Globally, the architectural membrane market is mainly driven by growing demand for tensile architecture and tent which account for nearly 61% of total downstream consumption of architectural membrane in global in 2016.

  • Popular Tensile Membrane structures
  • Discussed below are few of the innovative tensile structures from India and abroad.

Santa Fe Opera House and Cantina

FabriTec Structures, in collaboration with FTL Design and H3 Hardy Architecture, unveiled this stunning tensile fabric structure at the Santa Fe Opera House in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The custom structure is an addition to the cantina food service and outdoor dining facility which seats up to 175 people. The design of the structure was integrated with the cantina building and supported on one side by the special truss columns and building structure, and on the other side by post and cables opening to eastern views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The tensile structure also collects rainwater, which is stored in a 12,000 gallon cistern and re-used for site irrigation. FabriTec received an Award of Excellence for the project in the 2008 Industrial Achievement Awards (IAA) sponsored by the Industrial Fabrics Association International.



Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass walkway in Arizona near the Colorado River on the edge of a side canyon in the Grand Canyon West area of the main canyon. USGS topographic maps show the elevation at the Skywalk’s location as 4,770 ft (1,450 m) and the elevation of the Colorado River in the base of the canyon as 1,160 ft (350 m), and they show that the height of the precisely vertical drop directly under the skywalk is between 500 ft (150 m) and 800 ft (240 m).

Olympiapark, Munich Frei Otto

The Olympiapark München (English: Olympic Park Munich) in Munich, Germany, is an Olympic Park which was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Located in the Oberwiesenfeld neighborhood of Munich, the Park continues to serve as a venue for cultural, social, and religious events, such as events of worship. It includes a contemporary carillon. The Park is administered by Olympiapark München GmbH, a holding company fully owned by the state capital of Munich.

Skysong – ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, Arizona State University

SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center is one of the premier economic engines in the Valley of the Sun. The project’s success is a direct result of a focus on innovation and technology that attracts companies ranging from some of the world’s best known brands to one- or two-person startups. The goal of SkySong is to attract cutting-edge and innovative companies and their base of knowledge workers from around the world, integrating the resources of ASU with the opportunities of the private sector. SkySong is a true epicenter of economic activity in the state of Arizona. The 42-acre mixed-use development will include more than 1.2 million square feet upon buildout. SkySong 1, 2, 3 and 4, all approximately 145,000 square foot office buildings, are near full occupancy. Additionally, pre-leasing activity is taking place for SkySong 5, and the SkySong Apartments opened in Fall of 2013 and are currently leasing 1- 2- and 3-bedroom apartments at competitive rates.

The SkySong shade structure has become one of Scottsdale’s most recognized icons. The project is oriented around shaded and landscaped pedestrian scale boulevards with public gathering places and open spaces, water features and bike paths.

Amphitheater- Siruseri- Chennai, India

They call it the central spine. And it’s the busiest place inside TCS, Siruseri. Hordes of people gather here at all times of the day; a few of them are chilling out, sipping coffee. Some of them are having an informal meeting at one of the huts by the stream, and others are hurrying up for a meeting in another block, which requires a brisk walk. This brilliantly designed, environment-friendly and energy efficient campus reverberates the brand value of TCS and stands as an object of awe.

Teflon coated fiberglass installed in San Diego International Airport, CA

Construction of San Diego International Airport’s Smart Curb concluded in 2014 as part of a major renovation project that updated the terminal facility with features including 10 new gates, curbside check-in, a dual-level roadway in front of the terminal, a doubling of security lanes to 12 total and an expanded concessions area. The $1 billion expansion project was the first of its kind for the airport in 80 years, and incorporates state-of-the-art baggage technology, open-space terminal design elements, and increased common-use functionality.

For its part, FabriTec Structures was responsible for the final design and construction of numerous canopy structures adorning the Smart Curb curbside check-in area. The structures included: 18 Pavilion canopies, 28 Elevated Department Roadway (EDR) canopies, 35 ground structure canopies, and 2 long-term parking canopies–all of which cover more than 70,000 square feet of surface area.

The design/build project delivery system for the San Diego International Airport marked a significant departure from the traditional design-bid-build system and is a relatively new concept to the public building community.

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport – Mumbai, India

The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the airport of Mumbai city in India. Earlier it was known as Sahar International Airport. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport covers an area of 1,450 acres and is located in the Mumbai suburbs of Santa Cruz and Sahar. The airport is India’s biggest International and domestic hub. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport consists of two terminals: Terminal 1 (Domestic Terminal) and Terminal 2 (International Terminal). These two terminals share common airside facilities but are separated physically by a landside. The airport authorities provide shuttle services between the two terminals for connecting passengers.

Terminal 1 is further divided into Terminal 1A and Terminal 1B. Terminal 1A serves Indian, Alliance Air, Kingfisher Airlines and Go-Air. Terminal 1B serves Deccan Air, Jet and other private domestic carriers.

Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000 Hannover

Despite construction problems, the abrupt replacement of the engineer, months long construction delays, and the necessary addition of a PVC membrane over the paper membrane for fire safety issues, the Pavilions has been a great leap forward in the field of paper architecture. The main theme of the Hanover Expo was the environment and the basic concept behind the Japan Pavilion was to create a structure that would produce as little industrial waste as possible when it was dismantled. The goal was either to recycle or reuse almost all of the materials that went into the building. The first structural idea was for a tunnel arch of paper tubes, similar to the Paper Dome. However, the Paper Dome was limited by the high cost of wooden joints. I proposed a grid shell using lengthy paper tubing and without joints to my collaborator, Frei Otto. The tunnel arch would be about 73.8m long, 25m wide, and 15.9m high. The most critical factor was lateral strain along the long side, so instead of a simple arch I chose a grid shell of three-dimensional curved lines with indentations in the height and width directions, which are stronger when it comes to lateral strain.


  • https://fabritecstructures.com/portfolio/santa-fe-opera-house-and-cantina/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon_Skywalk
  • http://skysong.com/about-skysong/overview/
  • https://fabritecstructures.com/portfolio/san-diego-international-airport-smart-curb-pavilion/
  • https://www.mapsofindia.com/mumbai/mumbai-airports.html
  • http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/works/2000_japan-pavilion-hannover-expo/index.html
  • https://officechai.com/miscellaneous/tcs-chennai-office-work-nature-find-balance/
  • Hindu
  • https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2013/04/23/arts/shigeru-ban-between-function-and-beauty/#.W4Uuzc4zbcc


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