Company: International Tension Structures

Project details

Fabric producer: Serge Ferrari North America Inc.
Fabric supplier: Serge Ferrari North America Inc.
Location: Tolleson, AZ

Please describe the project specifications.
The Downtown Tolleson Redevelopment Project included aggressive architectural improvements to the urban renewal efforts in the historic Town of Tolleson, Arizona. The larger project included work to the City’s streetscape, sidewalks, landscaping, water features, lighting, and gathering areas. At the heart of the project was an open greenspace and gathering area where a water feature and shade element were incorporated into the project. The shade element included a large framed structure with arching beams that spanned over a well-lit water feature. Arching panels in a double curvature form were complimented by intersecting triangular-shaped sails. The structure was then capped with a center mast rising above the arching beams and helping to form a conic shaped membrane at its peak. In all, the structure included eight columns pitched at an angle and rising from grade, eight arching beams each spanning over seventy feet while intersecting at their mid-span, and a center mast rising above the structure to an elevation of twenty eight feet. This structure gave support to four rectangular shaped arching panels, four triangular shaped panels and a conical shaped center panel to highlight the structure.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?
The overall project was intended to revitalize the downtown and help to bring life and energy back into the area. The shade structure component was intended to provide a functional element of shade to the pop-jet water feature and surrounding gathering areas. But there was a larger emotional and architectural element to the structure which was one of an inspiring and iconic feature that promoted pride and symbolism for the community. It was intended to define this memorable gathering space and create an architectural landmark for those that lived there.

What is unique or complex about the project?
The project faced several complex features including compound arching beams that intersected mid-span, heavy structural steel members to carry the long spans, and a rigorous modeling effort to ensure a steadfast execution. The overall design was unique and was well developed as it was symbolic of a mosaic tile and inspired heavily by the local Hispanic community. The colors for both the steel frame and membranes were kept simple and white but were highlighted with an awesome LED lighting package which gave the structure a beautiful glow after sundown.

What were the results of the project?
The project was more successful than anyone on the team had envisioned. There is rarely a day or a night when the central gathering space underneath the iconic shade structure is not filled with people. The structure helps to define the town, has created a gorgeous destination point and helped the community in their urban renewal and revitalization.

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