Under the Umbrella – Part 2

Tension Structures now offers cost effective and easy to install solutions for outdoor entertainment areas for the hospitality sector; or even in your own home. Find out about the splendid events that happen daily under our Architectural Umbrellas & Gazebos by following our series – Under the Umbrella.


A sunny winters day at the sports fields

Herzlia High School in Vredehoek’s main sports fields sit against the majestic backdrop of Table Mountain. Herzlia host regular soccer fixtures on the field and spectators are able to support from the permanent grand stands stepping down from the sports club house overlooking Table Bay with 360 degree views of beauty.

Tension Structures was commissioned to provide and install on of its architectural gazebos to provide shade and protection from the elements over the grand stands.


The elevation of the clubhouse and grand stands required that the shade structure that covered it be supported by extra-long posts grounded at the lowest level of the stands reaching up to the height of the clubhouse roof.

As Cape Town is notoriously windy in the early Summer months, and for parts of Winter, the integrity of the structure was paramount, despite the stilt like steel support posts. Not only was it important that the posts held, but too the fabric structure gazebo providing the shade on top. Made with the best quality white Ferrari fabric, the translucency allows for light to penetrate beneath providing protection from the elements without blocking out the beauty of a sunny winter sports day at the spectacular venue.


While only one structure has been erected thus far, the intention of the school is to expand the shading across the full width of the grand stand using joining gazebos. Tension Structures gazebos are designed precisely to be installed alongside one another with ease for longer patios or stands. They are a cost effective solution that are available in a variety of set sizes for ease of purchase and quick installation.

For more on Tension Structures’ architectural umbrellas and gazebos, visit www.umbrellasandgazebos.co.za

Nomadic Architecture to combat socio-economic challenges

In order to combat socio-economic and environmental challenges today’s world faces, architects of large infrastructure, for example the stadia for events such as the Olympic Games, are encouraged to think of the legacy approach, considering what purpose these structures will fulfil post event.

Started at the 2012 London Olympic Games, designs for Games venues started to incorporate more temporary infrastructure that could at the least be disassembled, and as is the case for many of the Rio Olympic stadia, reengineered for other purposes. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes calls it ‘nomadic architecture’.

The material from Rio’s Future Arena will provide the material for 500-student primary schools in the city’s Jacarepaguá neighbourhood, and the aquatics stadium will be reconstructed into two community swimming centres, among other restorations.

Jeff Keas of Populous, responsible for the London Stadium designs for the 2012 Games, says temporary buildings can have a carbon footprint half the size of a conventional structure and save costs by 50 to 80 percent.

These lightweight structure designs have better integrity than ever before, and require far less time on site. Tension Structures’s tensile fabric structures offer just this ease of installation, and the ability to be disassembled. The nature of tensile structures designed with the integrity Tension Structures offers is they often reduce costs as they require less cumbersome foundations, also then diminishing installation time.


Image – By Miriam Jeske/ brasil2016.gov.br (Portal Brasil 2016) [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons


New Health Sciences Teaching Facility at WSU, Mthatha

Funded by the Department of Higher Education’s Infrastructure and Efficiency Fund, Phase 1 of the new Walter Sisulu University Health Sciences Teaching Facility in Mthatha is underway. Tension Structures was commissioned by Intsika Architects to install a fabric structure roof to cover the atrium walkway of the 1,350m² double storey building, a focal point when entering the campus.

At the time, Acting WSU Interim Vice Chancellor Prof Khaya Mfenyana said, “The University is one of world’s top eight medical faculties in problem-based community learning. With the faculty being strategically positioned and in close proximity to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital and the Health Resource Centre, it means operations such as administration, research, teaching and learning and training will be seamless.”


While the brief was for an elliptical shaped roof to cover a walkway and was always intended to be a fabric roof, the initial design comprised of a completely flat roof with an extra-large tension ring and tie down cables requiring tremendous concrete columns and foundations. Tension Structures developed the scheme eliminating the 4 cable tension ring and 4 cables tie down cables, thus reducing loads on the structure; and there was no need for concrete foundations for the tie down cables. The redesign significantly reduced the cost of the structure, as well as the walkway space underneath.

On the ground floor, the building will house 10 lecture halls; each will be able to accommodate 60 students. The first floor will comprise 20 smaller tutorial rooms.




Saving energy in Southern Africa – Lusaka’s new Garden City Mall

Tension Structures has been commissioned to design and install the walkway atriums; as well as two entrance roofs for an accumulative area of 2,500m2 at Lusaka’s new Garden City Mall in Zambia.

This project features conical peaks reminiscent of snowcapped mountains that run along the entirety of the centre walkways of the mall. The fabric structures are made from steel flying masts fitted with TX30 fabric by Serge Ferrari. Tension Structures’ involvement was requested by Synergy Contracting, the developers on the project.

Serge Ferrari’s newly released TX30 fabric is to be used as it has a translucency of up to 8%. As a result, the walkways in the mall do not require artificial lighting by day, but are sufficiently and even more effectively lit by the outside light diffusing through the fabric. In a country that is currently facing an energy crisis; decreasing the demand on Zambia’s grid for ongoing development projects such as these is vital. Furthermore, by night the artificial lighting is dispersed across the fabric illuminating the walkway throughout. Perhaps the most boastful property of Serge Ferrari’s Précontraint TX30, however, is its sustainable lifespan of up to 30 years.

Culminating in a flourish at the end of two walkways are conical roofs at two of the entrance ways. The main entrance way boasts three linear cones with exaggerated peaks, and a further large peak covers a second entrance. The height and sculptural qualities of these entrances extend out from the building’s architecture leaving a large covered atrium below.

The flying masts supporting the cones are notable as they don’t extend to the ground as a column would, but leave the area under the structures free from ground supports allowing shoppers at the Garden City Mall to move freely. They are also aesthetically pleasing much like flying sculptures lacing the ceiling above. Alternating with the flying masts along the walkways are latticed struts engineered by Tension Structures to assist in combating the resistance forces of the fabric structures on the building surrounds. Strut applications such as these now offer a solution for the engineers on the project facing similar challenges on future developments.

Costs saved on the installation of ceilings such as these which don’t require daytime light fittings, as well as the subsequent energy saved, makes these fabric structures a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing solution for on-going development projects in Africa.


Image courtesy of http://www.synergyzambia.com/

Transforming the built environment within the African region – Green Building Convention 2016

This year’s Green Building Convention is being held in Johannesburg , South Africa’s financial district, at the Sandton Convention Centre from the 26th – 28th July, with the full programme extending 5 days to include workshops and tours.

Across its overarching theme ‘Build a better world now’, the conference sessions are guided by three sub tracks. Track 1 begins first thing on Wednesday the 27th of July 2016 entitled, ‘Building bold and visionary leadership now’:

“Bold and visionary leaders are needed to create the opportunities necessary for effective sustainability-driven strategy that focuses on a holistic economy benefitting humans, the planet and the financial market.”

Track 2 happens on Thursday the 28th of July 2016 entitled, “Building innovative and disruptive technology now’:

“Technology is no longer being applied in isolation but is starting to serve a higher purpose of social conscience and sustainability.”

Track 3 closes day 4 on the 28th of July 2016 with ‘Building collaborative cities and communities now’:

“Building green is not only about minimising negative impacts, but should also consciously encourage positive influences on both indoor and outdoor surroundings”

Keynote speakers include John Elkington, described as a true green business guru, and owner of the future-focused company, Volans; and Dr. Ian McCallum, director of the Wilderness Foundation and a trustee of the Cape Leopard Trust, and author of the award winning book Ecological Intelligence – Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature, addressing the interconnectedness of all living things. Read about more of the speakers here.

The purpose of a convention such as this is offer a platform for the GBCSA and forward thinking green experts to lead the transformation of the South African property industry, and beyond, to ensure that buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way; and is described as, “THE date on the the sustainability calendar. It is considered the definitive event where experts and decision makers gather to effect environmental transformation in the built environment within the African region.”


Photo & info courtesy of http://www.gbcsaconvention.org.za/

Under the Umbrella – Part 1

Tension Structures now offers cost effective and easy to install solutions for outdoor entertainment areas for the hospitality sector; or even in your own home. Find out about the splendid events that happen daily under our Architectural Umbrellas & Gazebos by following our series – Under the Umbrella.

Under the Umbrella Part 1:

Autumn harvest lunch out on a shaded terrace


Image courtesy of Glen Carlou

The shaded terrace deck at Restaurant @ Glen Carlou looking out over the vista of vineyard is the perfect spot for an Autumn lunch. Tension Structures installed 5 adjoining architectural umbrellas over the deck offering  respite from direct sunlight for diners.


Image courtesy of La Motte

Off their new menu try the Lamb Neck served with mint sauce, peas, yoghurt, heirloom carrots, thyme polenta fries for R135.00 recommended with the Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon. Or for a lighter mains, the Honey and Black Pepper Mozambican Prawns with goats cheese tortellini, burnt butter, raisins and pine nuts for R130.00 recommended with The Curator’s Collection Viognier. Read their full Autumn Lunch 2016 menu.

Pierneef à La Motte named in admiration of South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886 – 1957) offers lunch on their shaded terrace alongside a bubbling brook embraced by tranquil gardens and majestic oak trees. Tension Structures installed a fabric structure over the restaurants outside area with an oak tree right through the middle; as well as gazebos over the decked terrace.

Try their Home-made Duck Sausage starter with fresh coriander noodles, roasted bell pepper jam, master consommé  at R85.00 recommended with La Motte Chardonnay – single vineyard, Franschhoek or La Motte Syrah or the Baked Bone Marrow with pickled ox tongue and parsley salad, grilled potato and leek bread for R95.00 recommended with La Motte Millennium™

While we didn’t install an umbrella at Vrede en Lust but a ceiling for their wedding venue, Lust Bistro & Bakery was too good not to include on our list. Enjoy a Sunday buffet from 12pm – 3pm available every Sunday and most Public holidays from 12pm to 3pm, with a variety of dishes from the kitchen and wood-fired oven. They also have an a la carte menu available for remaining opening times.


Read more about Tension Structures’ architectural umbrellas & gazebos at www.umbrellasandgazebos.co.za; and look out for the next article in the Under the Umbrella series.

Tension Structures key collaborator on world-class sports facility in Scotland

feature photo from @Oriamscotland

Shape Structures and Tension Structures have collaborated on the fabric structure roof for the new Oriam Sports Performance Centre in Scotland which aims to provide top sportsmen and women with the world-class sports facilities pivotal for successful performance on an international stage.

Tension Structures was brought on board by project engineers Engenuiti, and Shape Structures as one of a few companies in the world that would be able to develop the necessary detailing, taking into account the complexity of the connections and tensioning for the roof structure.

Tension Structures was required to submit stage calculations including fixing detailing, produce form finding and load analysis including imposed loads on the supporting steel structure, submit 3D drawings including typical details to describe the form and connections sufficiently and detail performance specification covering materials, workmanship, installation and maintenance.

Drawings for roof of Oriam Scotland

Tension Structures then worked with Shape Structures to detail a performance specification.

The size of the structure to be placed in the extreme weather conditions in Scotland, as well the complexity of the fittings meant stringent calculations to ensure integrity; and the size of the fabric panels meant very well thought out installation procedure had to be used.

Drawings for Oriam Scotland

Oriam will be the performance base for both the Scottish FA and Scottish Rugby Union, as well as the sportscotland institute of sport (East), Basketball Scotland, Scottish Handball, Scottish Squash & Racketball and Scottish Volleyball.

Reiach and Hall Architects are the architects on the project to be completed before the end of 2015, with the centre to be launched in the Summer of 2016.

Load analysis for the roof panels - Oriam Scotland

Load analysis for the roof panels

Green Building Council of SA awards Hotel Verde

At the Green Building Council’s annual Green Building Convention held from the 2 – 6 November this year, Hotel Verde won the Highest Rated Building category for its Existing Building Performance (EBP) Pilot tool rating at the Green Star SA Leadership Awards 2015 held at the convention.

The hotel was assessed over a 12 month period, and attained the highest points to win the category. Hotel Verde has a 6-Star Green Star SA EBP rating, and according to Green Building Council South Africa’s (GBCSA) CEO Brian Wilkinson “showcases some of the most advanced, environmentally conscious technological installations, construction methods, procurement and operational practices of any hotel in the country,” and having previously already achieved a global first when awarded two Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Green Building Certificates by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) – Read more here.

The theme for this year’s convention was inspiring better buildings with an emphasis on the need to acknowledgment that it is no longer enough to simply think green while building but that to achieve green building, technologies need to be part of the business process. To read more on the convention, see the article SA’s Green Building Convention in its 8th year.

Also among the winners at the awards were Upper Grayston Building in Sandton Central, Johannesburg; the Monte Circle Building A in Fourways, Johannesburg and the Gatehouse building at Black River Park in Observatory, Cape Town.






End of Year Closing Dates 2015

Wishing you a peaceful festive season

Dear Client,

We wish to advise you that our office and factory will close for the festive season holidays on FRIDAY 18th DECEMBER 2015, and will reopen on THURSDAY 7th JANUARY 2016.

We urge you to please place your orders timeously in order for us to fulfill your requirements.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyal support and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

SA’s Green Building Convention in its 8th year

This year’s Green Building Convention is Inspiring Better Buildings. SA’s Green Building Council acknowledges that it is no longer enough to simply think green while building but that to achieve green building, technologies need to be part of the design from conception; and taking it a step further – as part of the business process.

The convention runs from the 2 – 6 November, 2015 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Key-Note speakers include Jochen Zeitz from Kering (sponsored by NedBank and GrowthPoint) and founder of the Foundation of Intercultural Ecosphere Safety which supports creative sustainable projects and builds sustainable businesses; Professor Michael Braungart pioneer of Cradle to Cradle design which models human industry on nature’s processes; among others.

The programme line-up includes workshops, building tours and activities as well as speakers and discussion sessions on the importance of green building as a part of business processes; how to build better businesses and economising green building; and more.

“If your business is committed to a future where the foundations are green, this is an event you do not want to miss” – Green Building Convention.

For more information, visit the conference website here.