Textile in architecture is emerging. Lightweight tent structures, translucent ETFE canopy cushions, PVC roofing material on facades, padded interior upholstery, and inflatable architecture by Festo. The factors lightweight, flexible, mobile and fast outweigh the factor relatively low sustainability.Still something is off with all this no-weight stuff whether textile, foam constructions or constructions in slender steel and aluminum. What
off is the balance between energy, flexibility, sustainability and mass. Excess of one obviously leads to reduction in the other. Let us reduce this relation to a non-proven, general, volatile, yet associative, formula: the relation between construction energy required and sustainability attained is constant: E/D=C. Where E is effort and energy to construct something i.e. mass, flexibility as a degree of changeability, mobility and maintenance.Where D is period of preservation, degree of resistance to external influences, the material’s heat absorbing, acoustic and energetic properties.
This “universal relation” applies to everything in our surroundings and explains why you do not spend 100 days building a house to occupy it for only 3 days.
D man = 90 months ( = 75 years)
E man = 9 months
E body of “lady in white veil” = 5 mm/minute
D = 1 night
D cathedral = 3 years
E cathedral = 300 years
E circus tent = 40 days
D circus tent = 16 years.
The relation is evident. The cumbersome, long living elephant versus the rapid mobile tiny mouse, the castle versus the tent, gold versus wood, KPN versus fast food stand. Quality is a constant and may be deduced from the maximum effort spent on it. Contrary to the law of economics: expend the minimum to obtain the maximum. The lightness of existence is heavy stuff.