Category Archives: Wilcox, Adare

Site Model

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Amphitheatre Final

Field Trip

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Tent Mesh Shelter

The Next Step Cont’d…

The greatest challenge that I have come across so far is whether or not the fabric and steel mesh would actually be able to work together and be supported in my design. After talking with Ann over the weekend I was able to conclude what would and would not work. The triangular pattern of my design presented the first problem since mesh is made to work in rectangular formation but the steel mesh called Mid Balance:

would actually work after being cut and welded and the horizontal members would keep it in better tension too. Ann also suggested that I should just continue the spirals of the mesh and then run my structure through that. The connections that I have chosen were taken from the tents I researched but modified slightly like the tent pole sleeves:

which would be used for the fabric and then the spiral connection:

which would be used for the mesh connections and to connect the mesh to the fabric. My overall design would look like this in plan:

where the gray triangles are mesh and the white are the fabric. As far as materials go the fabric will be Polyetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that is a teflon coated woven fiberglass membrane that is extremely durable and weather resistant. The structural poles would be carbon fiber which is very strong and flexible. I am currently putting my design into bonzai and then render it.

The Next Step

I have been trying to incorporate steel mesh into my tent research but I have found it very difficult so far since tents are very light and portable and steel is not. I have looked into more permanent tent-like structures that could be used for pavilions or just shelter in general but they do not really convey the concept of portable architecture. I have also looked into layering the steel mesh, similar to the different layers of a tent. I am currently looking into combining the steel mesh with fabric. The fabric would not be a permanent part of the structure and could be removed easily especially if it was connected via tent clips or something similar. I also remembered the work by Hussein Chalayan who is a Turkish fashion designer and experiments a lot with high tech fashion. His 2007 collection was all about self retractable and morphing clothes. I thought that this would be a useful concept to look into and possibly use for my next phase. Here is an example:

The image on the right should be first. One idea that I am currently playing around with is a shelter or pavilion that incorporates steel mesh and fabric together.

The triangle formation is based off of the structure of the Geodesic dome tents I researched. The gray triangles would be the steel mesh and the white would be the fabric. The fabric could retract itself according to the time of the day or how much sunlight was needed. I will be posting scans of some sketches soon.

Portable Architecture

After our review last Wed. and Fri. I decided not to look into Nomadic architecture but look more into the connections and materials of the new, high-tech tents of today.

Portable Architecture: Tent Research

Types of Tents

  • Yurt: Circular wooden frame made into a lattice structure and held together by rope and ribbon. Structure is then covered in felt, which is used to keep it in compression along with a heavy weight that is hung from the center of the tent. Primarily used in Central Asia and Northern Africa.
  • Ridge: Classic A-frame design. Stable in high winds but very heavy and bulky. Primarily used by Vikings and militaries.
  • Geodesic: Most influential design in the last century. Very good for rough weather conditions because it can be repositioned without being dismantled. Uses tensegrity.
  • Dome: Most used for camping. Very spacious. Poles meet at the tents highest point to form the structure.
  • Tunnel: Spacious design and can have multiple rooms. Supported by two or three flexible poles, which are used independently.
  • Traverse Hoop: Extremely light weight and usually made for one person. Uses one or two interdependent poles for structure.

Tent Structure

Three Major Components

    1. Outer Membrane: Covers the frame and carries the load primarily though tension. Its main function is to protect the interior.
    2. The Frame: The type of its construction varies with the different types of tents. It can consist of flexible rods that transfer loads like an arch. What the outer membrane is attached to.
    3. An Anchorage System: These are the tabs that connect the outer membrane to the frame by using tent clips and pole sleeves. Also uses rope and tent stakes to anchor the tent to the ground.



  • Carbon Fiber: Very strong and flexible. Becoming the future of tent poles.
  • Aluminum Alloy: Makes up almost all tent poles today. Consists of multiple sections that are joined through an elastic shock cord and then anodized to prevent corrosion.
  • Fiberglass: Has been replaced by aluminum alloy. It is not as strong so it has to be thicker and heavier, adding too much weight to most tents.

Fabric Construction

  • Single Wall: Single layer of a tent cover. Protects from water and wind and it is durable and breathable.
  • Double Wall: Has an outer flysheet and an inner tent. The fly sheet is waterproof while the inner tent is breathable.

Tent Covers

  • Polyurethane Coating: Applied to the tent fabric and makes it more durable and waterproof.
  • Waterproof/ Breathable Laminates: A layering system of different materials to form a strong and waterproof but breathable laminate. Types of laminates include Goretex, Toddtex, Klimate and Membrain.
  • Ripstop: Polyester taffeta with thick threads weaved into a material at regular intervals and helps to prevent small rips.
  • Clear Film: A see through material often used for windows and skylights.

Tent Connections

  • Sleeves: Poles run through them to connect the frame to the outer membrane. Very sound in windy or rainy conditions.
  • Clips: Easily connect to the tent poles. Makes the set up easier but they are not as sounds as sleeves.