If you need a shelter for your school playground, a roof for your rugby stadium or even a porch outside your community centre, you’re probably considering various options, ranging from a simple brick porch to an awning or a corrugated metal roof.
But there is another simple, attractive and versatile option: a tensile fabric structure. This may not mean anything to you, but you probably know one of the most famous examples – the Millennium Dome, now the O2 arena. Granted, it’s a little on the large side for most people’s requirements, but if you’re looking for a shade for your playground, a covered area for your coffee shop or even a shelter to protect fans from the rain while they watch a sports game, then a tensile fabric structure could be exactly what you need.
A Simple Origin
The concept comes from one of the oldest forms of shelter, a tent, and the principle is the same: fabric stretched out and supported by a frame secured in to the ground. Modern-day tensile fabric structures first appeared in the 19th century but really gained in popularity in the latter half of the 20th century with the development of thinner, lighter and stronger architectural fabrics. Their popularity really kicked in when German architect Frei Otto designed the West German pavilion for Montreal’s Expo 67, and then went on to design the Olympic stadium for the 1972 Munich games.
Still not convinced? Well, tensile structures can take the form of porches or play shades or stadium roofs, and they are formed from fabric stretched across a metal frame, or umbrella. Their beauty lies in their simplicity and the fact that they can be free-standing, as in a sun and rain shade in a school playground or part of a bigger structure round a building, or even over a building. Companies apply the same level of knowledge and expertise to projects of every size and complexity, as the idea works as well on small scale shelters, like a family home, as it does on huge stadiums. The value that a porch can add to a house or other property can be significant. A porch may appeal to you when you are looking to buy a house. Deciding what house to buy with considerations like how much you want a porch is just the beginning of the house buying process. When you agree to buy a house there is a legal process that involves a conveyancer that changes the house owners and the buyers getting a survey. A survey gives a comprehensive review of the house and any potential issues it may have and are easy to get wherever in the UK you are. If you are in the Essex area for example, you may wish to consider a home buyers survey Essex company, such as https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/Homebuyers-Survey/Home-Buyers-Survey-Essex
The examples above are of course huge buildings, and most people are looking for something a little less elaborate, but the idea and the engineering know-how remain the same regardless of scale.