Google are one of the biggest names on the planet, and they are known for leading from the front. The search giant is renowned for innovation and for “thinking outside the box”. It’s no surprise, therefore, that when they decided to expand their campus in Sunnyvale, California, they decided that a selection of Tensile Fabric Structures was the best choice they could make. I wonder if they got it from sites including spatialstructures.com/building-systems-explained to get the best deal possible and the right advice.
Expanding the Googleplex
Google headquarters is known as the Googleplex and the company wanted to create a shaded plaza as part of its campus expansion. This would become a space where employees could have meetings, eat lunch, work away from their desks and generally relax. Duvall Design, Inc were up to the challenge.
A Hi-Tech Forest
The plaza consists of a steel trellis that curves above a spacious courtyard. The company wanted their employees to be able to enjoy the outdoor area without the fierce glare of the California sun. instead, they wanted to achieve the effect of sunlight filtering through leaves.
Light and Lightweight
The trellis is fitted with hundreds of fabric triangles which diffuse the sunlight without blocking it or creating dazzling contrasts of light and shade.The fabric triangles are manufactured from a white Teflon material that is lightweight, durable and will hold up to the weather with ease. The material couldn’t be too heavy or it would cause problems with the tensioning, but the fabric that Duvall Design Inc settled on is PVC free, chemically treated and inert to UV radiation. It’s also self-cleaning, so like many tensile fabric structures it should continue to look new for years and years. The triangles themselves are slightly curved, to perfectly fit the steel trellis. The revolutionary structure has generated much discussion, and increased interest.
Fabric structures have several advantages over conventional bricks and mortar. They’re lightweight and environmentally friendly, as there’s much less environmental disruption, energy consumption and waste involved in making a fabric structure. The flexibility of the material allows designers to be more creative in their thinking. You can make your structure portable or permanent, add it to an existing structure (as Google have done) or create something new and freestanding. Energy costs from lighting are low due to the fabric itself. Google are yet again leading the way, in real life as well as on the internet.