The effects of technological growth are invariably reflected in the field of architecture. The increasing popularity of Architectural Fabric Structures or Tension Fabric Structures as they are commonly known, is a testament to this reality, as manufacturing and other industrial and commercial interests make increasing use of this type of structure. There are many valid arguments for this increasing demand. One of the most cited reasons for turning to these structures is their tremendous value as compared to conventional buildings that encompass an equivalent superficial area or volume. While the cover materials used in Architectural Fabric Structures are extremely durable and resilient, and continually improving with advances in plastic fiber technology, the ability for these buildings to freely span large spaces (column-free) is one of the factors that makes them more and more appealing. Whereas conventional buildings must contend with the weight of their own structure as one of the major elements of dead-load, a fabric covering is extremely light by comparison, and consequently, the metal supporting elements can thus be very economically designed. Snow and wind become, by default, the only significant loading criteria, and unlike conventional buildings, tension fabric buildings can absorb a certain amount of movement without any effects to the integrity of their envelope, thereby making them somewhat resistant to foundation movement due to frost or seismic activity.

These efficient buildings typically feature Steel Frame Structures or Aluminum Frame Structures, both pre-engineered in accordance with building code standards in the jurisdiction where the building will ultimately serve. Call them Architectural Fabric Structures or Engineered Fabric Structures, they are typically produced within a controlled shop environment, under meticulous welding and fabrication standards. While aluminum already offers natural anti-corrosion characteristics, reputable manufacturers ensure longevity of their steel structures through post-assembly hot-dipped galvanizing. A growing supplier that is taking the business of Architectural Fabric Structures or Tension Fabric Structures to another level is Shelter Logistics Inc. This company seems to have grasped the fact that different users have different requirements, and they can provide Steel Frame Structures as well as Aluminum Frame Structures, thereby offering the optimal solution to any user within the framework of an already fascinating space creation concept.

Proof of the longevity of these structures lies in their increasing popularity with military users, where Tension Fabric Structures have, for several decades, adapted to the exacting standards of their uniformed task-masters as aircraft hangars, barracks, vehicle storage buildings, etc. Other typical uses include manufacturing facilities, equipment garages, municipal buildings, temporary construction shelters, event pavilions, and even disaster relief installations. Primarily because or their free-span capability – up to 350 feet and more, there is also a remarkable increase in the popularity of these structures for use as hockey arenas and covered facilities for soccer, baseball and other traditional outdoor sports, erratic weather creating a need for this solution. In southern and arid climates, they continue to be very popular for use as sun shades where ultraviolet protection is required, and they are equally effective as rain screens in more humid regions.

Manufacturing of tension fabric buildings is executed under highly controlled plant conditions, and fabrication is typically advanced at the plant to the point where field installation is simply a question of bolting or otherwise joining the pieces together. Whereas transportation may take one or several days, depending on the location, these pre-engineered and pre-fabricated structures can be erected in a matter of days, thereby considerably reducing the possibility of field complications or down-time due to weather or labor problems. The youth of technology together with the age-old strength of metal, have truly combined to create an ingenious hi-tech solution to one of man’s most ancient preoccupations - that of Shelter.

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