In their many forms, tensioned membrane structures have opened a world of opportunity for architects and builders across the globe. With seemingly endless benefits and applications, this innovative form of architecture helps to create environments that are more functional, energy efficient, and iconic-all while delivering solutions to the challenges end-users never even knew existed. So, if you’re designing or renovating a project’s atrium or courtyard, we have a question for you. Have you considered the benefits and impact of a tensioned membrane roof structure?
Challenge #1: Choosing Between Natural Light & Weather Protection
Almost by definition, an atrium or courtyard is created with the intention of incorporating natural light and fresh air into the property’s design. However, in locations that experience extreme heat, regular rain, or freezing temperatures, atriums and courtyards become unusable for large portions of the year.
Solution: With tensioned fabric roof structures, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. You can choose a membrane based on its light transmission qualities-ensuring end-users will continue to have access to natural (and diffused) light without the discomfort of extreme weather. If translucency is a top priority, you may want to consider ETFE Foil as a dynamic, durable, and cost-effective alternative to glass.
Challenge #2: Spanning Long Distances
Roof concepts are often abandoned because support columns and structures would detract from the user experience in the open space below. Using traditional materials and methodologies, a roof covering does require substantial support-but now there are more innovative options to consider.
Solution: A tensioned fabric roof structure uses strong yet lightweight materials to cover large expanses with minimal support. With a professionally engineered combination of framework and support cables, you can achieve a full-coverage canopy without the impractical support columns of old.
Challenge #3: Working with a Budget
We’ve all had an exceptional design or concept thwarted by budgetary restrictions, and we’ve all identified ways to improve users’experiences but couldn’t get clients or property owners to sign off on the expense. Luckily, times are changing, and innovations are evolving. Today’s solutions can cost less and incorporate valuable environmental benefits.
Solution: Opting for a tensioned membrane roof structure can cost much less than a traditional version-plain and simple. But, more importantly, covering an atrium or courtyard with tensioned membranes can actually cut the property’s operating costs. By blocking the heat-inducing UV rays (without blocking out all sunlight), it not only creates a more comfortable open-air space below, but it also helps to regulate interior temperatures for the adjacent rooms. In other words, it can reduce the need for air conditioning -which translates into year-after-year energy savings.
Is a Tensioned Membrane Roof Structure Right for Your Next Project?
In the Tension Structures Division of Sigma Industries, we specialize in design, engineering, manufacturing, and installation of structurally complex and creatively challenging commercial, government, and prototype design projects. We provide expertise and support for architects, landscape designers, general contractors, and property owners to develop their custom tensile membrane project ideas and construct iconic structures.