House of Flags 1-3. Projects for loose skinned fabric buildings.

Most fabric buildings use stretched skins which look solid and therefore lose some of the most appealing aspects of non rigid materials which you see in clothing. Using loose fabric for an object with the scale of a building has an even more dramatic effect than clothes, where wind can be seen moving slowly across it, rather like very large flags.

Below are three projects where I looked at creating buildings which were clad in loose fabric skins.

House of Flags #1: Three steel frame farm silo towers on a hill, draped in loose fabric. The concept was to create ethereal buildings which looked almost like human statues covered in drapery.

House of Flags #1

A dairy farm with three loose fabric covered silo towers on top of a hill.

The structural concept is based on airship construction (a lightweight truss covered in fabric) such as the one shown here.

Model of farm tower structure.

For the fabric skin, a synthetic fabric such as the polyamide used by Christo is specified (shown here, Christo's Gates project in Central Park).

Using a bias cut such as those shown here allows the fabric to cling to the structure revealing the frame underneath

The effect of thin fabric over an underlying structure is nowhere better expressed than by Bernini...

The eventual fabric skin for the tower looks something like this (detail from 1:20 scale model).

Farm tower elevation (pencil, felt tip on mylar)

Farm tower, milk storage silo section (pencil, felt tip on mylar)

Tower model, semi-taught fabric option.

Tower model, loose fabric option.


House of Flags #2: A fabric core skyscraper with external billboard screens.

Unlike House of Flags 1, this is purely conceptual and the images are done in a highly stylized fashion using retro-futuristic elements such as machine age industrial design (think Sky Captain). The aim was to create an aesthetic that was modern but decorative. Somewhere between art deco and gothic.

House of Flags #2

A conceptual study for a modern gothic skyscraper with a fabric core.

Tower section, line drawing and collage.

Tower base, stylized perspective.

Skyscraper crown, mixed media.


House of Flags #3: A terraced row of artisan’s shops based on a spiral plan

This project consisted of a proposal for a series of wooden framed spiral units braced off ruined stone walls of a derelict building, so that the interior space of that building became a courtyard garden, effectively turning it inside out. Each unit would have fabric sails. The style of this project was to combine wooden and landscape elements, rather like the work of Peter Salter. The freehand drawing style is deliberately loose.

House of Flags #3

A design for a terraced series of artisan retail spaces with spiral plans.

Shape used to determine both plan and sections of individual units.

Plan view of artisan units round remaining walls of demolished building.

Freehand sketch axonometric of individual unit.

Freehand sketch of terrace of units.