Tensile and Inflatable Structures

The construction of awnings and tensile roofs is becoming more widespread. These constructions vary from simple awnings and roofs, to technically very complicated tensile structures of the most diverse types.


Materials: artificial fibre material (polyester) is used as the base fabric, with corrosion resistant and weather proof protective layers of PVC on both sides.

Characteristics: high strength (can resist snow and wind loads); non-rotting; resistant to aggressive substances; water and dirt repellent, and fire resistant.

Weight: 800-1200 g/m2.

Permeability to light: from ‘impermeable’ up to 500/0 permeability.

Life: 15-20 years; all popular colour shades; good colour fastness

Workability: manufactured in rolls; widths 1 – 3 m, usually 1.5 m; length up to 2000 running metres; cut to shape to suit structure; can be joined by stitching, welding, with adhesives, combinations of these, or by clamp connectors.

standard add-on systems of tensile

Add-on standard systems →①

Standard units allow the structure to be extended indefinitely, oft e non all sides . They embrace  most platforms: square, rectangular, triangular, circular, polyhedra.

Application: connecting passageways, rest area pavilions, shade awnings, etc.


Framed structures

A supporting frame is made from wood, steel or aluminium, over which the membrane is stretched as a protective covering.

Application: exhibition halls, storage and industrial areas.

domed construction and canopies

air supported structures - pneumatic roofing

Air supported structures →④

An inflatable building is a structure constructed using two layers of membrane connected together, typically using spars made from the same material. The structural membrane is supported by compressed air at low pressure, and air locks prevent the rapid release of the supporting air. The system can be combined with heating, and additional insulation can be provided by an inner shell (air mattress). Maximum width is 45 m, with length unlimited.

Application: exhibition, storage, industrial and sport halls; also as roofing over swimming pools and construction sites in winter.

tensioned structures - special textile constructions

Tensioned structures →⑤

The membrane is supported at selected points by means of cables and masts, and tensioned around the edges. To improve thermal insulation, the structure may be provided with additional membranes. Span can be up to more than 100 m.

Application: exhibition, industrial and sports halls, meeting and sports areas, phantom roofs.

This “Tensile and Inflatable Structures” is taken from the book Architects’ Data written by Ernst Neufert, whereas this book has become the guideline for architecture college students in the world.

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