Ingenious architecture using textiles

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The Textile and Industry Museum in Augsburg is showing ‘Textile Architecture’

Building with textiles used to be an everyday aspect of human life and has frequently been reinvented since then. The Textile and Industry Museum (tim) in Augsburg is showing a special exhibition entitled ‘Textile Architecture’ until October. The exhibition divides the textile architecture of the past and present into five thematic groups: ‘roof’, ‘curtain’, ‘umbrella’, ‘tent’ and ‘air bubble’. In the past, nomads made archaic tents out of fabrics while Oriental rulers preferred to sit under canopies. In all cases, the purpose of the textiles used was to impress and decorate and / or protect against the elements. The situation today is not all that different. The links between past and present solutions are illustrated by the ‘Textile Architecture’ exhibition with pictures, architectural models and haptic installations.

Curtains are not only a component part of modern homes, e.g., as sun protections and screens. They also permit spatial intimacy and are often used as room dividers in modern architectural projects. Whole tents or walk-in installations can be made of textiles. As the Textile Museum shows, good use is made of all the haptic and transparent qualities of fabrics. A highlight of the exhibition is the walk-in air bubble. Its sheath of flexible material is stabilised by a pneumatic structure – by overpressure in the room – a technology widely used in modern architecture.

Exhibition shows the wide variety of materials available
Roofs and sun protection are also shown in a separate area. From awnings as the smallest kind of textile roof to canopies or sun sails, the list of potential applications is long. In this connection, the material used is not only important for roofs. In the ‘material worlds’ section, visitors can see a broad spectrum of textiles used today, from natural fibres, via recycled fibres, to new coatings. Rounding off the exhibition is a variety of ‘smart textiles’, e.g., high-tech textiles such as carpets with built-in contact modules.

This project and more textile architecture can be seen at the Textile and Industry Museum in Augsburg until 6 October 2013.

Sabrina Linseisen (RZ), photo: P. Tahon, R. und E. Bouroullec

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