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Tensile Facades: The Dynamic & Cost-Effective Solution for Exterior Renovations

By May 15, 2019 July 18th, 2019 No Comments

As a building ages and its surrounding neighborhood gets developed with modern new architecture, the original structure can begin to appear dingy and outdated – which can make it a challenge to compete in competitive rental markets.  Tensile facades are an innovative solution that help property owners overcome these challenges (and many others) without the overwhelming cost of a traditional exterior renovation.

Tensile Facades for Old & Outdated Buildings

There are two different categories we’re referencing when talking about “old and outdated” buildings: historic architecture (that often needs to be preserved) and 20th century architecture (that looks increasingly outdated now).

For historic buildings, tensile facades can wrap the exterior in a “second skin” – protecting the structure from harsh environmental impacts and damaging UV rays without making permanent changes.  For those buildings that have telltale signs of being built in periods such as the 1950s or 1960s (for example), tensile facades create a timeless solution that cover dated design elements with clean lines and modern aesthetics.

Design Ideas: Leverage color to power a vibrant, integrated, or brand-specific exterior renovation.  Whether you’re looking to make a bold statement or blend in with the natural landscape around you, a tensile facade’s membrane can incorporate color and/or graphic printing – perfect for making an impact that’s unique to your building, your brand, and your neighborhood.

Tensile Facades for Institutional Buildings

Many buildings were built purely for functionality – resulting in mundane, box-like structures.  While the interior adequately suits your needs, the exterior of these buildings leaves something to be desired.  For institutional buildings in need of a facelift, tensile facades can deliver modern and memorable results by freeing you from the confines of your (sorry to say it) boring building.

Design Ideas:  Experiment with form and the shape of your building.  With the help of a tensile facade, the lines of your original building envelope don’t actually need to dictate the structure’s facade.  Shorter buildings with taller neighbors can extend the facade upward to make it blend with the neighborhood.  Layered panels of tensioned membranes can add depth, colorful or geometric shapes can create contrast, and 3D designs can transform institutional into iconic.

Tensile Facades for Revitalized Neighborhoods

As a revitalization effort launches, there’s always the question of what to do with existing structures: demolish and replace or adapt and reuse.  For aging neighborhoods that are on the cusp of becoming bustling communities once again, tensile facades (and other tension structures) can address aesthetic challenges without taking away from the areas’ original charm.

Design Ideas:  Explore the possibilities of art and light.  Just like with a blank canvas, large expanses of tensioned fabric provide nearly endless opportunities for artistic expression.  With LED up-lighting, the structures daytime appearance can be transformed after the sun goes down with the help of well-planned lighting designs.

Bonus Benefit: Energy Efficiency

In addition to differentiating your building with a modern appearance, a tensile facade can also contribute significantly to the property’s energy performance.  By addressing concerns like solar heat gain and urban heat island effect, your cost-effective exterior renovation also helps to maximize interior efficiency and comfort, too.

Is a Tensile Facade Right for Your Next Project?

In the Tension Structures Division of Eide 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.

Explore the options for your next project.  Contact one of our experts today by calling 800-422-6827.