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Fast Becoming a Preferred Choice of Architects
The advent of several new technologies in the recent past in the field of construction has meant that architects and engineers can quite literally let their imagination run riot. One such field which has caught the fancy of the fraternity is that of tensile fabric structures. They have made a dynamic contribution to the architecture scene. They offer an unbeatable combination of function and aesthetics. A combination of factors including, long –term cost savings and sustainability has meant that tensile fabric architecture is now becoming popular in India.

One particular application area where tensile fabrics have been playing a prominent role is in sports stadiums around the country. A good example for tensile fabric structures being used in sports arena is available in the form of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which was decked up for the Commonwealth Games 2010 using the technology. Another application area where tensile fabric structures have made a mark is in airport projects. Good examples for it are available in the form of the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad and the Sahar International Airport in Mumbai. Another key application area has been the numerous shopping malls where tensile fabric roofing has been used around the country. With India being a predominantly sunny country, it is not surprising that the use of tensile fabric structures is on the rise. The Indian market for tensile fabric structures is estimated to be in the range of Rs.150-Rs.200 crore and growing.

Infinite Design Possibilities
The advent of tensile fabric structures has come as a boon to architects looking to create truly outstanding structures. The widespread acceptance of tensile fabric structures is in itself a testimony to the high esteem in which they are held by contemporary architects. Creation of signature designs is now a relatively easier possibility for architects, thanks to the entry of tensile fabric structures and the availability of expertise to erect them with the necessary support system. Virtually unlimited designs are now possible with tensile fabrics. Not only are tensile fabrics ideally suited for creation of landmark buildings, they also offer the flexibility of being blended along with conventional construction methods.

Sustainability Factor
Another important factor that has contributed to the growth of tensile fabric structures in the country has been sustainability. The semi-translucent nature of the fabric which allows for the entry of plenty of daylight is a good example of the sustainability factor. The semi-translucent nature of the fabric element makes them ideally suited as shading systems to cover large areas, such as sports stadia or airport terminals. Not only do tensile fabric roofs allow for the entry of daylight, they also help in cutting down on heat at the same time, an important consideration which makes them a favorite with developers of airports, stadiums and shopping malls. They score over polycarbonate and glass, which can sometimes cause heat gain. The unique properties of light reflectance and transmission also offer exciting possibilities for lighting after dark. Directing lights under the canopy to reflect off the underside is one good strategy to use uplighters. Even more lighting can be achieved under the fabric by shining lights down on the fabric from above.

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