Lightweight constructions for temporary uses: research about new membranes structures and their applications in
temporary architecture

The field of lightweight construction is in evolution and it is not completely covered yet. Several structures such as tensairity® and tensegrity
have been developed in the last years although, at present time, these construction systems are rarely applied in architecture. Moreover, new
materials have been developed in the last decade. Properties of new advanced materials could radically change available construction systems
and easily overcome the structural limits. 

These lightweight structures could provide several advantages in the building construction field such as an extremely efficient use of materials
and an optimal structural response to external loads. Moreover, responsive, adaptable and kinetic architecture can be designed through these
systems. 

On the contrary, the behaviour of these structures is not clear yet. Moreover, safety problems and the lack of know-how from the design point of
view are just some of the limits. This research wants to focus on these structures and look for technology that can handle these problems using
new materials, techniques and methods and will combine all in the best possible solution for new lightweight construction.

Research's goals

The aim of the research is to extend the current knowledge and experiences of engineering and production in theory and practice in order
to integrate the body of knowledge around lightweight architecture for temporary purposes. Tensairity® technology developed by Empa will
be the main focus. Applications of this technology in architecture are going to be investigate. 

These structures could be applied in different fields such as temporary events, emergency occasions and moveable structures. Below, four
fields, in which these structures would be useful, are listed. 

- TEMPORARY structures FOR EMERGENCY 
In post disaster occasions, fast erection of large span sheltering is a challenging goal for architects and engineers. A large span shelter could
host hundreds of people and give them a safe place where to stay for the first phase (up to one week) after the disaster.  Moreover lightweight
structures can be the right technology for building infrastructures too such as temporary bridges, roads but also water or waste barriers. 

- TEMPORARY structures FOR SHELTERING 
Lightweight removable structures can be the solution for the covering and the protection of areas from seasonal risks (i.e. archaeological areas
or open air spaces). Greenhouses and structures for agriculture are also considered in this category. 

- TEMPORARY structures FOR FUN 
Temporary exhibitions or events, such as Expo 2015 in Milan, are occasions in which lightweight structures can be used to host people and
exhibitions for a short period of time. The same system can be useful in the design of advertising and communication structures. 

- MOVEABLE DEVICES/APPLICATION FOR SPACE 
Wings, boats... 
Energy production systems 
Satellites or inflatable modules for ISS or Space Hotel (orbiting or planet based)