Graphical Construction Glossary >> Roofs and roofing. >> Roof Types >> fabric roofs

fabric Roofs
Roofs made from flexible membranes and tensioned cables. From simple shade structures to complex permanent structures.

a fabric roofed walkway.

A set of small but complex fabric structures roofing a small walkway.

Designing and building a long lasting roof system using fabric membranes is not a trivial matter. The engineering that goes into working out the wind loadings is quite intense and the support columns and wires often appear to be over designed until one stops and considers what the supports and structure for a conventional roof spanning the same area would look like.

large shade sail

This particular shade roof over a children's play area after a period of heavy rain pulled over a substantial concrete footing for one of the cable stays. It was about 600 diameter by 2M. deep mass concrete. It was replaced by one that was a meter square by 2M. deep with a full reinforced cage.

stainless steel fittings

Some of the typical fittings used, 12mm stainless steel wire, SS swaged fittings, turnbuckles and shackles.

The photos above are taken in Darwin, a tropical city which benefits hugely from these large light airy shade structures and they are very common. Of course being in the tropics we are prone to the odd strong wind now and again which is why these roofs are not as lightweight as you may think.

While it may be true to say that this type of roof is cost effective for roofing large areas they are not cheap.

the famous 02 dome in london

Now the roof above is definitely not cheap. A shot of one of the many cable anchor points on the famous 02 dome on the banks of the Thames in London UK. This would have to be one of the largest fabric roofs ever. It is certainly the largest that I have clapped eyed on.

If you would like to see more on the same theme have a look around this site that shows some excellent examples of shade structures.

If you didn't find exactly what you are looking for try this search tool that will search the site and the web.

"What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
Adam Smith 1723-1790

"When we build, let us think that we build for ever."John Ruskin 1819-1900

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