My partner and I designed a quickly and easily deployable structure which is lightweight due to being predominantly fabric. Each piece of fabric is rectangular – which is easy to fabricate – and then pulled into the final non-uniform shape as a method of pre-stressing the structure, helping it better deal with wind and snow loads.
The fabric is stretched across two sets of arches which alternate in size; there is a set of “small” arches and a set of “large” arches. The fabric is stretched over top of the large arches, and beneath the small ones, then clamped in place. In the gap between the two arches is place a clear polyvinyl barrier; this lets light through, but is impervious to rain.
Spacing between the arches is maintained using cross-bracing: hollow aluminum tubing. The process overall is easy to assemble, and would be a one or two person job. The arches are broken down into multiple segments which lock together using a dovetail joint. Breaking them down in this way allows for more efficient storage. Rectangular strips of fabric can also be easily folded and stored. The concrete footings are individually small enough to be carried by one or two people, but as an assembly of 20 they carry enough weight to hold the structure in place.
The arches pinch the starfire fabric between them and secure them using bolts. These bolts slide through holes in reinforced portions of the fabric to prevent tearing.
Our design is accompanied by a set of graphic instructions indicating the assembly process.
Status: School Project
Location: Ann Arbor, MI, US