ETFE Modular Architecture and its Myriad of Uses
June 26, 2017
ETFE is THE alternative. Since its invention by Dupont way back in the 1970’s, it’s lightweight properties, low installation costs and green qualities have now made ETFE the new first choice material for architects and designers. However, the public opinion seems to be that this is a material only used for roofs. This is simply not the case. The foil has a myriad of uses – modular panels, facades, atriums, and even entire structures – see Cornwalls epic Eden Project and the iconic Beijing National Aquatics Centre. At Airsculpt, we aim to educate, so dear reader, read on to uncover the uses of this material that you may not have discovered yet.
When ETFE was first introduced onto the market, it’s cost effective advantages were only really realised in large scale projects. The cost per square meter and keeping the cushions inflated, meant that upkeep costs for smaller projects were nonsensical. However, with development of modular panels, which means double glazed ETFE that is able to be fitted as glazing to most applications, this is no longer the case. These panels can be used on a wide range of projects, from large atriums roofs, to smaller domestic applications such as greenhouses and conservatories. Quickly constructed and with no need for specialist maintenance equipment, modular panels are less costly to produce and install. Unlike the large spanning cushions, the panels tension is held in the frame of the panel itself, meaning there are no inflation costs, and most importantly, no deflations risks if the panel should be punctured.
Modular Panels for Horticulture
Any budding horticulturists out there? ETFE modular panels can be retro fitted into existing greenhouse structures, and with benefits such as all year-round gardening and crop production, faster growing and healthier plants; due to better light transmission than glass or plastic, and a UV spectrum of light which kills of mildew; fungi and bacteria, is there really any other choice? Would you fly coach if you could travel business class for less money?
Staying in the field of horticulture, but on a rather larger scale, a structure made of ETFE has allowed the tropical climes of South American to be replicated in an indoor park in Buffalo New York. Because of the flexibility in design that this foil offers, the architects were able to fulfill the brief of re-creating a tropical rainforest on the East Coast, by adapting the ultraviolet light transmission and using a lever system to allow for passive ventilation. This large span of the membrane foil cushions houses plants and animals from the Amazonian rain forest. Not only did ETFE make this project possible scientifically, it was also a win for the visitors of the park – their view of the ‘rainforest’ remains unobstructed due to ETFE’s lack of need for structural support.
Whilst the modular panels have fantastic benefits for the less ample projects, the foil are a proven cost effective means to revamp larger projects. Want a swift and cost-effective way to transform a tired building? A facade is what you need. Buildings throughout the country, nay, the world, have undergone this facelift, and what a difference it has made. Perhaps closest to home for Airsculpt is the BRI, who’s 2.2million pound facade has transformed an eyesore into an architecturally relevant delight. But facades don’t need to be constructed just from the classic and accepted materials such as powder coated aluminium. Airsculpt has cultivated a wide and extensive knowledge base during our time working with ETFE facades, and is quickly becoming a leading force in this area. With its transparent properties, an ETFE modular facade can allow for more light transmission into the building, which in turn allows, say it with me, less costly heating bills, Money saving, Cost & Time effective Installation and a Green Alternative. Aren’t these the very words everyone in the construction game wants to hear? In a world where climate change (Sorry Mr Trump, it is real!) is an issue with already devastating effects on the environment, having a material with such a low impact on the environment is surely the only way forward.
At Airsculpt, our aim is to innovate. We see this type of foil is being used throughout the world, and to grand effect. However, we want to do more than recreate the same idea. With the experience, we have in the field of ETFE, both in actual physical construction, and the in-depth theory base behind it, we are the ideal company to work with. Currently our creatives are working on world class projects that we can’t wait to announce. With a handpicked team, dedicated to achieving the very best standard of service possible, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss projects.
Please call us on 01249 848 649