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Inflatable ETFE Roofs Give This Resort its Pinecone-Like Forms

08:00 - 16 March, 2017
Inflatable ETFE Roofs Give This Resort its Pinecone-Like Forms, Courtesy of 3GATTI
Courtesy of 3GATTI

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.

Courtesy of 3GATTI Courtesy of 3GATTI Courtesy of 3GATTI Courtesy of 3GATTI +10

ETFE: The Rise of Architecture's Favorite Polymer

14:00 - 6 April, 2016
ETFE: The Rise of Architecture's Favorite Polymer, The Eden Project / Grimshaw. Image © flickr user timparkinson, Licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Eden Project / Grimshaw. Image © flickr user timparkinson, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

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 ArchitectsWater 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.

© flickr user manusascorner, Licensed under CC BY 2.0 SSE Hydro Arena / Foster + Partners. Image Courtesy of Figueras Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center / HOK. Image © John Linden Watercube National Swimming Centre / PTW Architects. Image © flickr user garrettziegler, Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 +8