IMS holds 5th International Seminar on Fabric Architecture

The 5th International Seminar on Fabric Architecture was held between 17th and 19th February 2016. This International Membrane Symposium was organised by the Institute for Membrane and Shell Technologies, Building and Real Estate, which is part of the Institute at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences – a German Premier University. It was also the first IMS to be held in Latin America, with the location being the Universidad Tecnologica de Panama School of Civil Engineering in Panama City. It had a full programme and was a well sponsored event.


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Conference programme

There was a full programme, which included distinguished lecturers from Panama, Mexico, US, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Sweden, and it was anticipated that the conference would be of interest to urbanists, architects, landscaping architects, consulting engineers and other professionals and students related to the design and construction of textile-fabric architecture.

The conference began with talks introducing textile architecture and the basics of membrane structures and structural elements. The presentations went on to discuss the design and engineering of membrane structures, the use of ixCUBE, and structural analysis.

Lectures also covered the physical and mechanical properties of the materials, membrane manufacturing, costing and testing. Reviews of some of the exiting and ongoing projects in Spain and Latin America were also presented.

The three days concluded with a question and answer session with all those who presented. Many of the visitors then participated in a visit to the Panama Canal.

The detailed programme is available in PDF format.

Fabric architecture in the UK

Fabric architecture really came into focus in the UK with the building of the largest fabric structure as part of the millennium celebrations, with the Guardian providing an interesting reflection on the development of the Millennium Dome.

Bespoke tensile fabric structures are now being seen more often as a way of modernising existing structures, with architects such as specialising in fabric structures. These are being used as integrated elements of larger structures, as the main covering structure, and as embellishments that add greater flexibility to existing properties.

Fabric architecture adds beauty and interest to any building and offers many useful properties that architects can exploit. The structures provide an interesting visual appearance while offering shade or rain protection in otherwise exposed areas.