Duomo di Milano; photo: Deidi von Schaewen


'Frei stands for freedom, as free and as liberating as a bird in flight, swooping and soaring in elegant and joyful arcs, (...) and as compelling in its economy of line and in the improbability of its engineering as it is possible to imagine, giving the marriage of form and function the invisibility of the air we breathe, and the beauty we see in nature.' The words of the Pritzker Prize jury on this year's laureate, Frei Otto.

The highest accolade for architecture internationally will be awarded posthumously on 15 May to the German architect who made his name with the tented-roof construction of the Munich Olympic Stadium and can be regarded as the father of textile architecture. Which is why we're exploring in our main feature the creative, functional and ecological possibilities of textiles use in contemporary projects. 

And Architonic is developing its competence in textiles, too. Designtextiles.com, the portal that we've developed with seven high-end brands (currently all from the German-speaking countries), shows you the space-shaping and functional advantages of textiles in architecture, as well as their variety in terms of design. What's more, Architonic has curated the exhibition 'Textiled Spaces – Photography by Deidi von Schaewen', which runs from 4 to 7 May at Techtextil, the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and non-wovens. 

Contents in brief:

  • Architonic Photo Tours: Milano Design Week 2015
  • Architexture: textiles go constructional
  • Further Articles from Architonic’s ‘News & Trends’
  • Eight projects are singled out in the Techtextil competition 'Textile structures for new building'

  • Inspiring Search Results No. 40: Screen fabrics
  • Inspiring Spaces No. 32: Infrastructure buildings
  • Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

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Architonic Photo Tours: Milan Design Week 2015

More Photo Tours from Milan Design Week will follow shortly

 Pedrali at Salone del Mobile

The experimentation of updated production technologies and varied materials, to create functional furnishings with a contemporary design, are the elements that emerge from Pedrali 2015 collection on display at Salone del Mobile in Milan. Seven brand new families and new models that enrich the existing ones highlight the Company perfectly balanced use of wood and upholstery, alongside metal and plastic materials. For the stand, Migliore + Servetto Architects have portrayed the new collection with signs of light. Ten luminous frames are the backdrop to the product families presented on various levels within environments defined as photographic sets.


Architexture: textiles go constructional

Text: Dominic Lutyens

Its roots may lie in transient structures, but contemporary textile architecture, with all its creative, functional and ecological possibilities, is definitely here to stay.

The Baku Crystal Hall’s facade consists of mesh-fabric and coated-polyester diamond and triangular-shaped panels across an aluminium frame, together with 9,500 LED lights that illuminate the stadium at night

The structural use of textiles in architecture has a rich pedigree, stretching back (no pun intended) to Bedouin tents and 3,000-year-old Central Asian yurts. Today, structures with membrane roofs are highly sought-after and, not surprisingly, have associations of transience and nomadism. Baku Crystal Hall in Azerbaijan, a 25,000-seater stadium, which hosted the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, was conceived as temporary (but later adapted to remain in place longer).

Shigeru Ban’s Curtain Wall House in Tokyo is defined by its curtain-like, fabric ‘walls’, which the architect likens to traditional shoji screens; photo: Hiroyuki Hirai

In the 20th century, textiles used in architecture had strong eco connotations. Take the Olympics Stadium in Munich of 1972, co-designed by Otto Frei with a view to minimising its impact on the environment, and green architecture pioneer Lloyd Kahn’s 1973 book ‘Shelter’, which celebrated simple, ancient dwellings such as tepees.

Further Articles from Architonic’s ‘News & Trends’

Textile roofs: State-of-the-art at Techtextil 2015

Text: Ulrich Büttner

Techtextil in Frankfurt, Germany, is the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and non-wovens. The complex industry, with its countless products for industrial-manufacturing processes, will once again be taking the stage from 4 to 7 May 2015, offering architects the best chance to learn about the application of high-tech textiles in building construction. Roofs are the classic area of application. 

Same But Different: Pfleiderer's DST System

Text: Ulrich Büttner

The DST system from Pfleiderer will raise designers’ creative freedom to a whole new level, because, with the DST range, interiors can be decked out with different surfaces, textures and core materials and can thus be used to satisfy many technical requirements. The system allows for a single overall impression to be made, despite the use of different core materials. 

Noises Off: Das Kranzbach's unique retreat experience

Text: Simon Keane-Cowell

When young English aristocrat Lady Mary Isabel Portman commissioned an Arts-and-Crafts-style mountain hideaway near Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the eve of the First World War, little did she know that it would, a century later, become a one-off, design-led hotel destination. 

The Materialists: strasserthun

Text: Simon Keane-Cowell

Stick a pin in the middle map of Switzerland and the chances are you've landed near Thun, a small town that's home to a big player in terms of materials know-how. Long-established, high-end carpenters and fitters strasserthun invite architects, planners, designers and end-clients to visit them on their home turf at their game-changing new punkt6 showroom. 

Going Global: De Padova's new collections

Text: Alyn Griffith

Iconic Italian furniture brand De Padova is set to show new products at Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile that draw on decades of design excellence and reaffirm its credentials as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of upholstered furniture. 


Simple and complex at the same time: eight projects are singled out in the Techtextil competition 'Textile structures for new building'

The German project Fabric Foam© receives a special commendation in the 'Micro Architecture' category

The winners of the student competition 'Textile structures for new building' have now been decided. An international panel of experts including well-known structural engineers and architects have awarded seven prizes and one special commendation. This is the 13th time that the student competition has honoured innovative ideas for building with textiles and for textile-reinforced materials at Techtextil, which is being held from 4 to 7 May 2015 in Frankfurt am Main.

The judges awarded three prizes in the category of materials innovation, two prizes each for 'Composites and Hybrid Structures', as well as for 'Macro Architecture' and a special commendation for a project in micro architecture.

With the help and support of the international TensiNet Association, Techtextil honours with this prize students and young professionals working in the fields of architecture, constructional engineering and product design. Professor Werner Sobek, Director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design at the University of Stuttgart, is responsible for overseeing the technical and scientific aspects of the awards. The institute was headed up as Institute for Lightweight Structures (IL) by Frei Otto from 1964 until 1991.


Inspiring Search Results No. 40

Interior fabrics > Wall fabrics > Screen fabrics

Inspiring Spaces No. 32

Infrastructure buildings

Architecture and Design Projects on Architonic

Mario Milana

dePostura Dining chair
Italy | Prototype 2014

Robin Hayes Photography

KTH Library

McLeod Bovell Modern Houses

Esquimalt House
West Vancouver | Canada | Completed 2012