Improving social space at University of Middlesex with shelter canopy

Fabric Architecture worked closely with bpr Architects, Curtins structural engineers and main contractors Coniston, to design, engineer and install the 105sqm bespoke shelter canopy outside the University’s sports facilities.

As well as the fabric, the canopy’s framework alsoply installing onto concrete foundations. The sub-structure was designed as a level terrace over sloping ground and each mast for the fabric canopy had to interface exactly with the steel uprights below.

With their cross-collaborative approach, Fabric Architecture designed and engineered the canopy, simultaneously working to bpr’s original concept whilst liaising closely with Curtins’ engineers to ensure the loads could be supported by the steel sub-frame.

The area where the canopy is located is a fire escape route and assembly point, so Fabric Architecture recommended an inherently flame-retardant woven glass fabric. Environmentally friendly and highly-translucent, the fabric suits the overall simplistic design. Steel was kept to a minimum and replaced with cable systems wherever possible to avoid looking overly ‘clunky’, which alongside hidden electrics for down-lighters and smooth powder-coated framework, have resulted in a sleek and fully-integrated hybrid canopy.

Fabric Architecture’s structure moves away from the typical barrel vault design normally reserved for such projects, to an undulating hyperbolic form that delivers both visual impact and practical shade and shelter.