Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium has released a new video showing the structure’s unique aperture-style retractable roof closing for the very first time. Designed by 360 Architecture (now a part of HOK), the eight ETFE-clad roof “petals” slide along tracks on the stadium roof to come together at a central point, much like how a camera operates. When fully operational, the roof will be able to open and close in less than eight minutes.
Focussing on prefabricated and sustainable means of construction, Italian practices 3GATTI Architecture Studio and OFL Architecture have envisioned an airy forest resort and spa in the historical region of Kurzeme, Latvia. The Pinecones Resort does its name justice by the spiky cone-like units that inhabit the site, made possible through the use of an inflatable roof constructed from ETFE, a lightweight polymer film.
ETFE, or Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene, is the most extensively used material for inflatable roofing. Being 100% recyclable and having a minimal carbon footprint in terms of transportation and installation, the material is highly sustainable and in the case of this particular project, offers flexible and dynamic building forms.
Until recently, the architecture world largely viewed plastic polymers as inferior building materials, handy for wipe-clean kitchen surfaces, but not practical in full-scale building applications. But with technological innovations driving material capabilities forward, polymers are now being taken seriously as a legitimate part of the architect’s pallet. One of the most widely-used of these materials is a fluorine-based plastic known as ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). Brought into the public consciousness thanks to its use on the facade of PTW Architects' Water Cube for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, architects are now realizing the film’s capabilities to express a new aesthetic and replace costlier transparent and translucent materials.