At Tensile Design & Construct, we never shy away from a challenge. In fact, a challenge gives us the opportunity to come up with innovative tensile architectural design solutions.
When developing solutions for a project, we address a range of factors. It’s the combination of these factors that makes our installations low-maintenance, highly robust and durable, and pleasing to the eye!
Tensile architectural design considerations
The materials used for commercial projects must be resistant to the natural elements, especially for outdoor projects. We use marine-grade stainless steel made with 70% recycled content in all our tensile installations, which increases your projects sustainability credentials.
The design and supply of our installations involves the integration of two very different building systems. There is solid construction, which is maintained through compression, and tensile structures that are held together through tensioning.
Integrating the systems requires addressing two main factors – the movement and behaviour of tensile structures, and life-cycle and maintenance. Getting the right result involves a process of site assessments, tight engineering, accurate tensioning, and the use of robust materials.
Naturally, the client wants the installation to look good and be complementary to the design of the structure. This requires us having a thorough understanding of the design features of the structure and what the client is looking to achieve in terms of appearances.
Examples of our tensile architectural solutions
1. Bendigo Law Courts facade
The perforated copper facade on the new Bendigo Law Courts building depicts ‘Bunjil’ – the soaring ancestral wedge-tail eagle of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. It is the first cable-supported facade of its size in Australia.
While this installation was a first for us in terms of size, we were able to draw on our previous experience of building a copper facade at Sydney University’s Women’s College.
Our role was to provide a lightweight copper facade that would form the feature element of building. Our solution was to use 8mm stainless steel wire-rope cables to suspend the panels, focusing on the minutest details to create a very crisp and lightweight finish.
Making it all come together involved a combination of expert integration, specialised components, and extensive wind-tunnel testing for resonance and frequency of the facade. For the Builder and the Architect having one team like Tensile look after all of this eliminated risk and provided certainty.
The result pretty much speaks for itself!
2. Acland Street St Kilda suspended art
When we were asked to assist in the creation of a temporary art installation for the busy Acland Street mall in Melbourne’s St Kilda, we knew we were going to have some challenges on our hands!
For a start, to reduce costs we decided to use the street’s tram poles to suspend the artworks. However, we needed approval for this (which wasn’t easy to get!), and we were bound by strict structural limits regarding load levels. We also needed to be able to easily dismantle the piece later as this was a temporary installation.
Bringing it all together involved designing a 6mm wire rope cable netting system, sufficiently transparent and subtle in appearance to blend into the background and let the art pieces shine.
The finished installation, which took only two days in the end, added layers of playful colour to the streetscape while it was up, and was easily dismantled afterwards.
Get in touch
As well as these two projects, we have been involved in many others that required bespoke solutions. Do you have a project in the pipeline that needs a unique tensile architectural design solution? Get in touch!