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04/17/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/17/2024 06:17

Textile Architecture: 7 Buildings That Interweave Sustainability and Innovation

Textile architecture revolutionizes the architectural landscape with hybrid and fluid solutions that interweave functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability. Thanks to the synergy between advanced textiles, innovative technologies and BIM software, a new design frontier emerges that can meet the needs of temporary and permanent projects, challenging the traditional indoor-outdoor dichotomy.

Designing with textiles, according to theories like those of Gottfried Semper, a 19th-century German architect and critic, involves rediscovering the connections between people, artifacts, and architecture. Also addressing current challenges, such as environmental ones.

This symbolic approach interweaves people, cultures and everyday needs, generating participatory projects that reflect different values but are unified by the creation of hybrid and fluid spaces.

Textile architecture is an innovative discipline that uses advanced textiles and textile materials to create striking structures. These structures are characterized by the creative use of textiles combined with advanced technologies, ensuring functionality, aesthetics and sustainability.

BIM design software simplifies the design process, allowing 3D modelling, material input and project management at all stages. Textile structures are dynamic, flexible and adaptable, suitable for temporary and permanent projects.

Textile Design and Environmental Sustainability

Textile buildings are an extraordinary expression of sustainability in modern architecture. This innovative building type is characterized by the use of advanced textile materials, presenting numerous advantages from both environmental and economic perspectives.

Sustainability serves as a fundamental pillar of textile construction. The fabrics used are often made from recycled fibers or natural materials, thus reducing the environmental impact associated with the production of traditional building components. In addition, the lightness and flexibility of the fabrics reduce energy consumption during transport and installation, further contributing to the overall environmental impact of the project.

Another key aspect of textile constructions is their ability to promote the circular economy. Thanks to their flexibility and adaptability, these structures can be easily dismantled, reused in new contexts, or recycled into other materials. This minimizes resource waste and increases material efficiency, promoting a sustainable life cycle for textile constructions.

Bold and Innovative Projects

In addition to sustainability, textile constructions also embody an extraordinary innovation in the field of architecture. Their bold, futuristic forms are possible thanks to the versatility of textile materials, which enable architects to bring to life unique, futuristic designs.

In addition, the lightness and translucency of textiles make it possible to play with the light and create both bright, welcoming environments and equally alluring havens in the shade, promoting the well-being of occupants and visitors alike.

These are seven of the most iconic textile constructions around the world:

1. Texoversum, by allmannwappner and Menges Scheffler Architekten (Reutlingen, Germany)

The Texoversum, a training center at the University of Reutlingen in Germany, is an innovative example of the use of textile materials in architecture. Its modular façade features interwoven triangular elements composed of carbon fiber and glass threads, which allow different degrees of view and illumination, acting as shading and parapet.

This experiment, considered a hybrid laboratory for the future, could influence further developments in architecture by integrating textile materials in a more widespread and innovative way.

2. Design District Canteen, by SelgasCano (London, UK)

SelgasCano's Design District Canteen, a covered market in London's Design District, features a lightweight metal structure covered with a transparent ETFE membrane and polycarbonate panels. Thanks to its night lighting, it appears as a large lamp in the heart of the Greenwich Peninsula, providing a welcoming and lively atmosphere for visitors.

The ETFE membrane also allows for adjustable ventilation and creates an authentic outdoor market experience, while the polycarbonate panels ensure site security.

3. King Fahad National Library Riyadh, by Gerber Architekten (Saudi Arabia)

The National Library of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, renamed in honor of King Fahad, is an important cultural building in the Saudi capital, characterized by a new urban aesthetic thanks to its cube-shaped textile skin. The architects of the Gerber studio integrated the existing 1980 building with a new façade that recalls the traditional Arab mashrabiya, offering solar protection with low energy impact. Selected as a finalist for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the library is an example of innovative design that respects local culture and traditions.

4. Soundforms, by Flanagan Lawrence (London, UK)

Built in 2012, this concert hall can be permanent or temporary, since it is built to be portable, using lightweight tensostat or inflatable constructions. Available in three sizes, the sculpted organic shape remains constant, offering exceptional acoustic projection thanks to intensive research into materials and acoustics. The outer membrane is PVC-coated white polyester fabric, characterized by durability, strength and self-cleaning capacity.

5. Zénith de Strasbourg, by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas (France)

Photo: Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons - cc-by-sa-3.0

The structural fabric lends itself excellently to large applications. The Zénith de Strasbourg, a huge event space located just outside the city of Strasbourg, is conceived as a geometric lamp that animates the horizontal landscape. Made of the flexible Atex 5000 TRL fabric, the bright orange membrane lights up from the inside during concerts, revealing the steel structure underneath.

6. Cape Town Stadium, by GMP Architects, Louis Karol & Associates, and Point Architects (South Africa)

Photo: Pavel Špindler, Wikimedia Commons - cc-by-sa-3.0

The Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup next to the Atlantic Ocean, is characterised by its flexible structure that adapts to its surroundings. Its lattice structure is wrapped in a translucent vala fabric membrane, while a silver-coated PTFE glass mesh guarantees breathability and semi-transparency.

7. Arena Da Amazônia, by Schlaich Bergermann Partner (Manaus, Brazil)

Photo: Portal da Copa/Governo do Brasil - Portal da Copa

The project, developed with Stadia and Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, created a stadium on a raised podium that accommodates various functions, separating the levels with a ring containing stands and offices. The roof structure, composed of tubular steel elements, provides weather protection and rainwater collection, while the translucent fibreglass roof provides shade and natural lighting. The Arena da Amazônia is among the first stadiums in the world to achieve LEED certification, considering the hot and humid environment of the Amazon.

Textile constructions are an outstanding demonstration of sustainability, circular economy and innovation in modern architecture. With their bold forms and ability to adapt to a variety of contexts, these structures continue to inspire and fascinate observers around the world, demonstrating the extraordinary potential of textile materials in contemporary architecture.