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Tropical canopies

April 1, 2016

Climate and sustainability goals dictate the choice of ETFE membrane structures for the U.S. Embassy in Laos. In the capital city of Vientiane, Laos, the U.S. Embassy complex recently underwent major rebuilding and a thorough sustainability assessment. The outcome of this multi-year process produced some of the most energy-efficient, sustainable facilities to date for the …

Collecting sun and rain

March 1, 2016

A pair of dynamic fabric structures bookend the Taiwan landscape. From the northern most tip of Taiwan, where capital city Taipei is located, to the southwest coast, where Kaohsiung City, the country’s industrial center, greets the setting sun, two new installations showcase the capabilities of tensioned fabric. The north-south oriented island nation of Taiwan (population …

Inventing the game

December 1, 2015

The Last Word Inventing the game Sy Hyman, company founder and retired CEO of Herculite®, is a long-time member of IFAI and became an Honored Life Member in 2014. He shared with us some insights about the challenges of marketing laminated synthetics with a start-up company when no market existed: about learning from customers, production …

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Back to the future

November 1, 2015

From 1915 to 2015—and beyond—we’ve gone from horsepower to hovercraft, yet business basics still surround technology. If the only constant in life is change, that’s also certainly true for the specialty fabrics industry and Specialty Fabrics Review, whether from a perspective inside the industry or the view from outside. Beginning as a narrowly focused journal …

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Celebrating 100 years of Review

In its earliest incarnation, the Review began as a newsletter shortly after the National Tent & Awning Manufacturers Association was formed in 1912, and gradually took on characteristics resembling a journal of record for the industry, reporting on trends and important industry developments. It became a magazine with the November 1915 publication of The National …

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An awning of a different color

April 2, 2015

Carrying the load: Framed awnings and tensile awnings must meet different engineering and code standards. Erik Jarvie, structural engineer and sales manager for TensionStructures (a division of Eide Industries Inc., Cerritos, Calif.) lays it out straight on the curvy business of tensile awnings: “Tensile awnings typically have fabric that is under a significant amount of …

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Behind the curves

April 1, 2015

Tensile structures add exciting new dimensions —and distinct engineering challenges— to the commercial shade products market. It could be said, like the mythical Greek lion-goat-snake beast the chimera, that the tensile awning is a creature of blended ancestors. Not long ago, structures with tensile fabric characteristics started appearing in places often reserved for framed awnings …

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Tensile awnings, by design

March 16, 2015

Designing and fabricating tensile awnings calls for a special skill set. Craig Flanagan, long-time owner of Shade to Order P/L, Gateshead, NSW, Australia, knows a thing or two about producing tensile awnings and canopies. He has some recommendations for those interested in the market. “In a small factory the fabricator is the sales person, designer, …

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The art (and science) of being flexible

December 1, 2014

Some of the most innovative new materials for architectural applications are found in flexible composites: 1+1=3 Buildings are supposed to stand up strong and—believe it or not—be both flexible and durable. Despite impressions to the contrary, even buildings made of steel and concrete must be flexible to resist cracking and ultimately falling apart. The length …

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“Skinning the box”

July 1, 2014

The challenge is finding the right materials in architectural applications. Is the building cladding going to be massive and highly insulated, or is it going to be layer upon layer of thin insulating materials? Will the south and west sides be completely glazed or mostly opaque? The most important challenge in designing and constructing a …