Because the project would have to withstand snowy winters, Duvall chose Ferrari’s 28-percent open mesh. “The mesh was originally designed for building facades,” Duvall says. “I had always used HDPE woven fabric in the past for shade structures, but needed something more durable for this. The Ferrari mesh is designed for a 20-year life. It also has a nice look and transparency, and we were able to choose a color that blends in with the existing historic architecture. When the light bounces off the fabric at night, it creates a warm environment.”
Although the city in which the project will take place is usually the catalyst for the project, it isn’t always the entity that hires the fabricator. “Sometimes the city has restrictions in the way it is able do things. The process can get a bit confounded with how city projects are funded,” says Fabricon’s Mark Welander. “The city isn’t always able to make projects happen in the same way a private entity can.”
In one instance, Fabricon was hired by a city’s downtown association for a project in the city park. After the company completed the project, the downtown association gifted it to the city. Another typical scenario is that the city will hire an architectural firm, and the firm will subcontract the fabricator as a consultant. “Bidding these projects is usually a two-step process,” Welander says. “The client brings you in to design the project, but it still has to be vetted by the city before you get the bid.”
Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.
Portable urban renewal
Soundforms Plc, London, England, enlisted the help of Architen Landrell to provide the fabric skin for this first-ever mobile band shell. The structure provides shelter for the musicians, while providing concert hall-like acoustics for the audience. The shell is made entirely of fabric—an inflatable fabric outer membrane with fabric panels running down the inside. The structure is the brainchild of the world-famous conductor Mark Stephenson, who designed the shell’s acoustics in collaboration with global consultant company Arup Acoustics and sustainability experts ES Global. With the innovative choice of fabric as the building medium, Soundforms brings people together to experience performances in the great outdoors.