Tensile Terminal

by Horst Berger, (F.ASCE), Principal Consultant; Severud Associates, New York, NY,
Edward M. De Paola, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Partner; Severud Associates, New York, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 11, Pg. 40-43

Document Type: Feature article


Few can miss a fabric roof that covers a 1.45 million sq ft area. The one covering the Denver International Airport's Landside Terminal complex (reportedly the nation's largest cable-supported fabric roof) will combine form and function to give the new hub facility its visual identity. A translucent fabric roof structure overhead and cable-supported glass walls will allow the Landside Terminal of the new airport to be flooded with natural light during the day. At night, the glow of the interior lighting will be seen from miles around. The roof consists of a series of tentlike modules supported by two rows of masts extending for a length of more than 1,000 ft. The design returns to the historic use of geometry for the primary means of controlling the flow of forces in major building structures, yet engages advanced methods of structural design to reduce the roof to its lightest weight and clearest form. The fabric membrane, the primary structural component, also becomes the enclosure. And the characteristics of this fabric enclosure—its seamless watertight construction, its translucency and reflectivity, and its rejection of heat and dirt—determine the nature of the architectural space and form.

Subject Headings: Cables | Roofs | Fabrics | Fabric structures | Building design | Tension | Airport terminals | Light (natural) | Denver | Colorado | United States

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