Grimshaw Architects have teamed up with MDT-tex to develop a modular canopy system that guarantees the staff if Internet service provider Google lots of shade whenever they take a break in the company’s offices in Atlanta, Georgia. “Tensilation” is the name of the sun-shading system made of PTFE textiles (polytetrafluorethylene fabric or Teflon fabric for short), a high-performance textile that with its square and diamond-shaped elements can be adapted flexibly to the size of the outdoor space it needs to cover, allowing for an individual shape to be created as required. Six of the shades suffice to keep the small patio coolly covered, and despite being almost four meters high they each weigh less than 40 kilos. Fastened to struts made of special aluminum profiles, the dirt-repellent membranes are linked with textile connecting pieces and thus provide seamless protection against the sun and rain. Supported by galvanized steel guys, they can also handle inclement weather, withstanding wind speeds of 85 kilometers an hour, and are corrosion-proof into the bargain.
The canopies can be opened and closed manually using a coated polyester rope, which is very robust as it was developed specially for the sailing industry. For evening events cabling ducts that are located inside the mast enable loudspeakers and lighting to be easily deployed. And is the canopy system needs to be erected elsewhere, it simply folds away into the purpose-designed carrying bag for simple onwards transport. The "Tensilation" system recently won the AJ 100 Award for “Architectural Collaboration of the Year” between architecture & industry in London. (am)