Structurflex wins Award of Excellence at the 2010 International Achievement Awards

April 26, 2012
Freight House District canopy.

The Freight House District is a new mixed use development that includes restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues and is also connected to a minor league baseball park. The destination is crowned by a single layer ETFE system that covers the outdoor entertainment and lounging areas.

The canopy was designed and developed to provide protection from rain and snow, some shading and generally define the space as an entertainment venue. The structure also needed to have a high degree of translucency and reflectivity to achieve dramatic night-time lighting effects  through the incorporation of a sophisticated LED light system.

Structurflex proposed a turnkey system for the design, engineering, membrane, structure and construction of the canopy. Being able to offer both fabric and ETFE was a definite advantage and both options required less structure and less cost than a glass system. After extensive design collaboration with the contractor and architect, ETFE was chosen.

The membrane has a silver fritted dot print to provide a certain level of shading. The fritting was also important to achieve night-time lighting effects through the LED lighting system. This allows the canopy to constantly change colour throughout the evening, providing a lively and dynamic feel. It was also important to maintain enough transparency to see the sky and objects beyond so the feeling of being in the urban core was not lost. The dot print provides approximately 75% translucency and achieves all of the aforementioned design criteria. The advantage to the membrane installation was that it was sectionalized into three panels, allowing other construction trades to work beneath other areas of the structure. With more than 70 cables integrated into the membrane, the system can easily handle the live loading conditions that will be imposed by the seasons.

The structure defines the space as an entertainment venue, particularly at night when exposed to the vibrant LED lighting underneath the membrane. The lighting is readily apparent from both above and below. Without the structure, the space would lack a sense of place. The architectural effects of the project have resonated tremendously well throughout the local architectural community. It is seen as an efficient and smart alternative to other systems. The system has shown to have numerous “green” and sustainable attributes as well. While sustainability is always a welcomed attribute, this system met that simply through its own inherent characteristics. ETFE is both naturally inert to UV and chemical degradation and is recyclable. Exposed to elements, ETFE membranes should see a 30-year life span.



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