• Tensioned Relaxations

    Tensioned Relaxations
    los angeles CALIFORNIA

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA): Tensioned Relaxations is series of temporary and rapidly deployable outdoor structures that aspire to reinvent the typical street fair tent through their combination of dynamic form, variable configurations, and optical effects. Each structure is highlighted by a uniquely sensual and continuous form composed of a tensioned HDPE Mesh skin with bespoke artwork by the talented roster of urban artists at SA Studios / SA-UP Collective and a perimeter ring made of fibreglass rod.

    The combined effect of each structures organic form, perforated mesh, and silk-screened skin provides a striking graphic identity to New York’s StreetFest which encourages visual and spatial interaction while simultaneously enabling numerous configurations to accommodate a multiplicity of activities including: vendors, workshop areas, outdoor classrooms, demonstrations, installations, music, and other performances and exhibitions.

    Conceived as an extension of the legacy of Frei Otto’s seminal lightweight tensioned membrane structures, it is the structures unique form that makes the structure both efficient and effective. The form was developed through a parallel process of both analogue and digital form-finding to explore the material behaviours of composite tensioned membrane skins (relaxed meshes) and bending active frames. In short, the fibreglass ring is deformed into shape by the tailoring of skin which binds it. In response, the frame pushes out while the skin pulls in, creating a form-force equilibrium that is lightweight, cost-efficient, and easy to assemble.

    • Organic form is both iconic and efficient
    • Moire effect of perforated mesh encourages visual interaction
    • Modular design allows for multiple configurations
    • Bespoke artwork provides graphic urban identity
    • Night time luminescence with artificial lighting enhances venue notoriety
    • HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) is a recyclable eco-friendly material
    • Minimum mass design conserves material usage
    • Lightweight construction and flat-packing lowers fuel consumption for shipment
    • Pre-fabrication avoids wastage of material and on-site erection time
    • Structures can be easily re-located and re-used


    Location: New York, NY. USA

    Client: Private

    Program: Rapidly deployable free-standing temporary pavilion system

    Year: 2013

    Status: Competition

    Credits: Alvin Huang (Principal), Chia-ching Yang, Joseph Sarafian

    Consultants: Buro Happold LA (Structural Engineering) – Greg Otto, Stephen Lewis, Philip Skellorn

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