Trust Thamesmead is a community development agency working to improve the quality of lives of over 30,000 local residents, focusing on the most disadvantaged. After recently being awarded £5 million by the Big Lottery Fund to create a Youth Leisure Zone, the redevelopment of The Southern Arches in Thamesmead began in earnest to create a world-class facility to involve and inspire the local youth with activities including climbing, dance, music and educational courses.
To create a modern and inviting facade to The Southern Arches situated underneath a busy flyover, a 216 metre long stretch of eccentric arches form an undulating wavy ribbon of tensile fabric. Ranging in height from 2 to 5 metres, this decorative wall fabric cladding will be lit from behind and above with coloured LED lights, creating a welcoming warm glow.
The curvaceous forms stand in contrast to the brutal concrete environment, creating a refreshing aesthetic within in the city and superbly illustrating the transformative power of tensile fabric.
This PVC mesh fabric cladding system was designed to replace the existing façade at Sainsbury’s in Crayford which had reached the end of its life. The refurbished fabric panel design gives greater protection from the elements and busy industrial environment extending the lifespan of the building, as well as an updated look for this busy retail store.
The structures consists of 1000sqm PVC mesh panels held by aluminium extrusion and fitted into an existing timber frame. The tensioning detail is covered by an attractive aluminium flashing.
The panels also serve as additional weather protection for customers where they join the walkway canopy we installed previously to the store exterior.
In September 2010 the Sainsbury’s store, Crayford reopened after an extensive re-fit, increasing in size from 30,000sq ft to 100,000 sq ft to become the largest Sainsbury’s store in the UK. And to impress further, all the cooling, heating and hot water are provided by geothermal energy gathered 200 metres below ground. Consequently the new larger store has the same carbon footprint as the original, much smaller store. However, one problem remained; how to create a suitable fabric facade befitting a flagship store of such grand scale and landmark innovation?
The solution, of course, is tensile fabric. Sainsbury’s have been pioneers of tensile fabric use for many years, recognising the practical and aesthetic benefits of an eye catching structure. In this instance a covered walkway measuring a total of 126 metres in length runs across the front of the building, flanking the central floor-to-ceiling glass entrance. Vertical PTFE mesh panels measuring 7 metres high create a clean, understated frontage that allows a greater transmittance of light than solid fabric and excellent circulation of air, in turn helping to lower heat gain. The roof of the walkway is a flat, inclined PVC membrane that allows water to run off towards the rear of the walkway into a gutter system. All the individual fabric panels are fitted to steel picture frames which are in turn fitted to glulam columns and beams, allowing for efficient installation of the fabric.
To help counteract the searing 40°C plus heat, Qatar has launched a cooled Fan Zone to enable football fans to watch the Brazil 2014 World Cup in relative comfort. A temperature difference inside the structure of around 13°C is maintained by using of a range of technology including ventilation units, high level jet nozzles to restrict prevailing winds and air-controlled modifiable dampers. Importantly the Fan Zone is being used by engineers as a trial to perfect the cooling technology that will be required when Qatar plans to host the 2022 World Cup. It houses the biggest LED television in Qatar and a variety of interactive football themed attractions.
Base Structures manufactured 22 triangular tensile fabric sails, arranged in 11 pairs that overlap each other to encircle the Fan Zone, lending a dynamic and eye catching facade to the otherwise unassuming building. Manufactured using nearly 150m2 of white PVC fabric per pair of sails, the natural translucency of the material is exploited with banks of lighting used to bathe the sails from behind with a wash of cool blue colour and projected patterns. A ‘cool’ project in every sense of the word.
The annual Commercial Vehicle Show at Birmingham’s NEC is a big event. Many brands use this show to reveal their latest vans, which is why Ford the UK’s Commercial Vehicle leaders, wanted to showcase their latest big-budget advertising campaign.
NEC contacted Base Structures and asked us to remove two existing banners from the vehicle entry doors on Halls 1 & 5 either side of the main entrance and replace them with two of Ford’s new striking fabric advertisement pieces.
We manufactured and installed the 15 metres by 10 metres advertisement banners which have nestled in perfectly within our 3D fabric facades, a previous project commissioned last year.
Big enough to become Liverpool’s third cathedral, the latest addition to EON’s Liverpool Bulk Terminal is a massive fabric clad warehouse measuring 65m wide, 170m long and 34m to the apex which to store wood chip and biomass to feed their newly converted Ironbridge Power Station.
Why tensile fabric? As a warehouse cladding material, it requires less supporting steel than traditional alternatives, making it faster to build as well as being more commercially competitive. In this case, the principle factor was the risk of water ingress affecting the stored biomass. The tensile fabric allows installers to create a sealed environment, thereby minimising the risk to the supply of fuel for the power station.
Base Structures designed and manufactured over 22,000m² of tensile fabric covers to fit the skeleton steel structure designed and installed by the UK division of De Boer Structures, an international supplier of turnkey temporary or semi-permanent structures for events and commercial applications. The warehouse will be used to store around 65,000 tonnes of biomass fuel with the electricity generated being used to power 250,000 homes. In addition to designing and manufacturing the grey, white and blue PVC covers, Base also provided specialist roped access personnel to assist with key elements of the installation procedure.
This unique mesh fabric sun shading system was designed specifically to suit the requirements of the ADC data processing centre in Phoenix, Arizona.
The PVC panelling provides shade protection to the air handling units whilst screening them from view and turning a utilitarian industrial unit into an architectural feature.
Base Structures UK designed, manufactured and supervised the installation of the mesh panels over critical areas of the centre.
Base Structures won the bid to design, manufacture and install Denmark’s most extensive tensile fabric project in the country. The deal was to deliver a striking, multifaceted fabric facade and walkway metro link for Copenhagen’s flagship shopping centre, Frederiksberg, working alongside FlexCover and main contractor Hoffmann.
The edgy, geometric design by architect KHR comprises of fabric slabs at varying angles and planes to form a unique textured fabric wrap. Base Structures’ role comprised of the design of both the steel and fabric elements as well as the fabrication and installation of all the fabric and fittings. To ensure a smooth installation programme, Base elected to prototype several panels to test and iron out any unforeseen technicalities.
The fabric wrap brings a cohesive visual look to the new shopping centre which will see the existing building extended by two floors, linked to the metro with the addition of a roof top car park.
The beginning of 2019 brought a lot of stormy weather to Liverpool docks and left Liverpool Port Authority warehouse looking a little worse for wear. We are no strangers to the Liverpool docks site as back in 2013 Base Structures designed and manufactured the 22,000m² of tensile fabric that covers the warehouse skeleton steel structure.
A small amount of damage was sustained from within the building that wasn’t attended to promptly, the stormy weather came, picked and pulled at the cladding. The devastation is all too clear in the pictures below.
Base was called in to assess the structure. We then stabilised the cladding to prevent further damage from the second storm that was expected a few days later.
We removed all damaged components, re-instated where we could, replaced what was not serviceable and ultimately brought the structure back to life.
As tensile structures such as this are an investment we do recommend regular maintenance to ensure they fulfil their design life and continue to look good.
Cardiff Bay is Europe’s largest waterfront development. The Bay area was created by the Cardiff Barrage, one of the largest civil engineering projects in Europe during the 1990s and the subsequent regeneration of the area is widely regarded as one of the great success stories in the United Kingdom. As part of the continuing success story of Cardiff Bay, a newly built 1238 space multi-storey car park in a prominent location required status as a landmark building. The £11m car park was the first phase of a £150m development and utilises cutting edge 21st century design to reflect the rich nautical heritage of the area.
The rectangular, box like car park was to be completely transformed by a series of six 120m long scalloped tensile fabric ribbons running parallel across the entire width of building, a stunning contemporary design by Scott Brownrigg Architects. The pulsing waves of fabric cascading down the front of the car park bring an otherwise unremarkable building, formed entirely by it’s function, dramatically alive with movement and a dynamic flair that most car parks could only dream of! Base Structures were approached by main contractor McAlpine Construction to use our specialist skills to detail design, manufacture and install the tensile fabric structure and lighting system.
Base Structures were selected to bring this vision into reality due to our proven expertise and excellent relationship with the main contractor. As well as undertaking the detail design, manufacture and installation of the fabric facades, we also collaborated closely with a specialist lighting company to create the impressive lighting scheme.
A silver mesh PVC fabric was selected for a number of reasons that were crucial to the successful function of the facade. A mesh fabric allows light and air to filter through into the car park, ensuring the facade that clothes the front of the building does not create a dark and exhaust filled cavern. From inside the car park it is possible to see through the mesh fabric to the outside world, retaining an open feeling inside a ‘clothed’ building, further enhanced by the wave design which inherently creates sizable openings that also serve to improve the airflow.
Because Base were involved with every aspect of the project, from the detail design through to the installation of the fabric and lighting, the completion of the facade was completed in approximately 10 weeks, on budget and on time. The installation of the ‘wavy’ steelwork that supports the fabric was a simple process completed by a six man team working on scaffold. 120 meter long Halfen channel had already been cast into the concrete structure of the building front, requiring us to simply secure the necessary fixing bolts at specific distances before attaching the framework. The installation of the tensile fabric and lighting system was completed next using eight men and cherry picker work platforms for access, with an electrician required to complete the final wiring once it was all in place. To finish the installation four of our rope access specialists were used to fit the bird protection equipment, including wires and spikes, preventing nesting on the lighting units and fouling on the fabric canopy.
The car park has been dubbed the coolest car park in Cardiff, an easy achievement one may think. For any public car park to be labelled as cool in the first place however, speaks volumes about the success of this tensile fabric transformation. The combination of tensile fabric and lighting is an extremely powerful one, especially when used to metamorphosise a building with a colour changing, three dimensional canvas. As far as we are aware this car park is the only example of it’s kind in the world.