A Tension-Look Structure Without The Stress

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November 6, 2016

Tension structures are a dream for many architects. But, the engineering requirements are a nightmare for the financial guy.

Tension structures rely on the tension of the fabric against cabling or metal framing to provide structural support. Because it uses fabric rather than brick , mortar, cement or glass, people assume that it’s cheap.
The unexpected costs come from the engineering and specifying requirements that are involved. Ensuring the structure is safe and secure before it’s built involves many man hours of specialized expertise, complex calculations and drawings.

As much as people love the idea of a tension structure, these engineering costs can be prohibitive.

I may be a fourth-generation contractor, but I’m also an accountant. At Parasol Awnings, we are often able to make suggestions that make seemingly impractical projects practical.

We’ve had a lot of success creating structures that I call “hybrid tension structures.” These structures look like tension structures but aren’t. The result is the beauty and appeal of a tension structure but without the high price tag for engineering.

The secret is stretching and fastening the fabric so tightly over a structure that it appears the fabric is in tension with the frame. In fact, the structure underneath is self supporting.

If you would like to create a tension structure, but are watching your dollars, talk to us. Maybe a hybrid is the right solution for you.

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