When urban landscapes have safe places for recreation, local sports, talent showcases, and neighborhood socializing, the entire community benefits.
Semi-permanent structures are making it possible for not only municipalities, but private business owners also, to quickly build stable fabric structures that benefit the wider community. There is increased awareness of the benefits that good public spaces contribute to neighborhoods – from improving the local economy to providing unique cultural opportunities; and from reducing crime to improving relationships between community members.
Fabric buildings have become an excellent solution for converting open space into usable community or private recreation entertainment venues. Fabric buildings of all shapes and sizes can be quickly erected, have low operating costs, and fit the needs of open-space indoor recreation and sports.
A recent Athletic Business article discusses how fabric structures are proliferating as permanent multipurpose facilities and describes how one fabric building began as an indoor driving range and putting green, but that same facility grew in community usage and is now home for many indoor community activities including kickball, Ultimate Frisbee, local football and softball practice.
Fabric Structures for Community Activities
Indoor Flea Market and Farmers Markets
Both indoor flea markets along with community arts and crafts shows are a staple in most all American cities. Often, an older structure that has been abandoned from its original purpose is modified to provide ample space for individual booths and tables to neighborhood artists or as an opportunities for starting a business. Both flea markets and farmers markets are profiting from the renewed national interest in locally-grown produce, handmade goods and second-hand treasures. All that is required to accelerate these local cottage industries and the revival of the entrepreneurial spirit is to provide a stable and dry interior that is well-lit and has ample space.
A fabric structure uniquely fits the needs of community markets with an open-air environment that still protects vendors from inclement weather and creates an opportunity for a steady flow of customers. The flexibility of covered buildings allow the structure to grow as the business needs increase. Extensions to increase square footage, and even relocating to a more profitable site means the businesses’ are not limited in growth. For continued comfort year-round, available ventilation and HVAC systems include radiant tube or passive and active wall vents options along with a make-up air system to keep fresh air flowing in and stale air flowing out.
Most communities have set aside plenty of dedicated green space for outdoor activities, but addressing specific community interests with members-only facilities have traditionally been overlooked. There continues to be a need for adult community club houses. These include social clubs, neighborhood performing arts, hobby enthusiast venues (model trains, classic car owners, etc.) and many other opportunities for groups of enthusiastic participants with a shared interest to meet regularly. With the advent of fabric buildings, community clubhouses that were once unaffordable can now be constructed on unused land, transforming an idea into a reality.
Consider a clubhouse that can be erected in the fraction of the time and cost when compared to traditional framed construction. Calhoun offers multiple building profiles to suit a preferred appearance including an arched truss for greater design flexibility, a high-top series with a deeper truss depth, and the traditional pitched roof series. But it is the fabric membrane securely attached to our proprietary Keder Panel System that ensures the fabric never touches the structural frame and creates a quiet environment with no risk of wear points on the cover
Year-Round Cultural Festivals
Every year millions of Americans will attend cultural festivals – and what were once summer-time events are now possible year-round. Fabric buildings are offering communities a new way to organize and present multiple cultural festivities under one roof, throughout the entire year. For any outdoor festival to be successful, you must have the cooperation of the weather in order to host staged entertainment, ethnic music and culinary dishes, along with the sale of cultural artwork and handmade crafts. When held outdoors, an entire festival weekend can be lost due to inclement weather. Using tensioned fabric architecture is a smart solution to provide a common arena to support this booming, economic community opportunity.
Architects are using tensioned fabric buildings in creative ways to enhance culture at festivals. For each cultural event, the interior can be revamped to represent a different culture or country. Theatrical lighting and speakers can easily be incorporated, but the translucent fabric creates a natural soft lighting effect that enhances the airy interior space. Bleachers, staging, or platforms are incorporated to provide a year-round facility that also includes a means of egress, fire safety, handicap accessibility, and ventilation.
Extreme/Active Sports Training
More than ever, young people are looking for a safe place to learn and practice extreme sports techniques and strategies. A covered sports building provides the open space to facilitate training for these increasingly popular activities. Active sports events are becoming more mainstream as an athletic activity performed without uniform or script. Riding, climbing, jumping, and overcoming obstacles are common to active sports such as skateboarding, long boarding, aggressive inline skating, free climbing, Parkour, rock climbing, and Ninja-style obstacle course training. As a business venture or as part of the larger community parks and recreation system, covered sports buildings offer a safe area to engage in the intense training these extreme and active sports demand.
For many of these sports a dirt surface or turf is the only requirement for a foundation. But any temporary building will not suffice for active sports training. These activities demand a strong frame with a durable skin and wide entries at each end. Calhoun Super Structure fabric covered buildings are some of the longest-standing fabric buildings in the industry. We accomplish this by analyzing site-specific variables to determine the amount of load the structure will need to carry, such that the behavior of the building is modeled and verified before any construction begins.
You might also be interested in reading about Fabric Structures in the Sports and Rec Industry.