THE BOOK OF TENTS
THE BOOK OF TENTS TRILOGY
The Book Of Tents is going to try to encapsulate a complex, engaging and for some, a terribly addictive subject. It is intended to be a reference on how to build tents, tented structures such as geodesic domes, and buildings with tension membrane elements that really are still tents, that although advanced in both materials and design, a nomad from the time of the Pharaohs would understand. Here are some excerpts from the introduction.
In the same way that the history of human achievement can be measured by the increase in storage of information, the development of tents has been all about the advances in materials. The stories of huge pavilions made from silk in ancient Asia also had stories of how the men climbed the roof to repair it. Canvas marquees and circus big tops would split under their own weight when old and wet, a lasting reason to use synthetic fabrics for performance textile products. By way of explanation, I started working on canvas tents that did indeed split when wet, a very good reason to learn about synthetic materials, particularly as I was sitting on the roof at the time! I was also lucky to be designing tents when there was no rule book. I had no previous experience of tent making and had to make my own mistakes, luckily none of which had any lasting consequence. No structural calculations, nor computers. I used one of those historical relics called a drawing board. And developed 3D surfaces using 2D projections. A lost skill, but one that made you intensely aware of the form........ (more)
The modern tent isn't very far removed from its ancestor, even though tents may be considered the oldest form of man made structure. When man first moved out of his cave, his first house will have been animal hides stretched over small branches. Three million years later, we, as tentmakers and erectors, are still dragging their equivalent around with us, so we may justifiably call ourselves the second oldest profession.
This book, the second of three, The Book Of Tents, covers all kinds of tented structures and provides an in depth appraisal of the design, analysis, manufacture and installation of tension fabric structures.
The first, The Sky Is Not The Limit, is intended to be the first of 3 tent related books. The book describes the development and use of the largest temporary structures for events in the world.
The third Tents and Events is a reference on all aspects of temporary installations, stages, seating grandstands, tented structures, exhibition vehicles and an overview of health and safety issues of all of those.
The Beginning Of Modern Tent Architecture
Since the beginning of time, man has used tents to house his family. Either as temporary cover, as emergency shelter, or as used by Nomadic tribes, who often live nowhere else. The tent has been part of our culture and traditions for the whole period of civilisation.
Most people tend to look at the massive tented constructions at trade fairs, music festivals, and mobile exhibitions as an ultimately modern concept. But, as in many spheres, we find that this is not true. From the time of Alexander the Great and possibly further back in time, to the ancient Roman 'Volariums' used to provide shade over Coliseums, to the steppes of Mongolia and the 12th century Spanish 'Envalet's', strung from buildings to cover streets, to the massive German beer tents in the late 1800's, we can see that far from being an emergency tool, the tent is an appliance as old as the dawn of time. And far from being used for temporary accommodation or for emergency, many peoples and races never knew an existence other than in tented structures.
The many different types of early building techniques have been covered extensively by writer more knowledgeable than I am, and I do not intend to go into the many variations of the skin covered 'Black Tent' which isn't black in certain parts of the world as the goats aren't black but brown! We appear to be covering a period from 40,000 BCE to the present day, so I will cover the significant issues that are relevant to the topics of the book.
A Short History Of Tents
Every book about tents or architectural membrane structures starts with a mention of prehistoric caves, Yurts, Gers and Kibitkas and moves on to Circus Big Tops. For those who have read other books I can only say that history is a big part of any subject and to ignore the past is to not understand the present.
In the same way that the history of human achievement can be measured by the storage of information, the development of tents has been all about the advances in materials. The stories of huge pavilions made from silk in ancient Asia also had stories of how the men climbed the roof to repair it. Canvas marquees and circus big tops would split under their own weight when old and wet, a lasting reason to use synthetic fabrics for performance textile products. By way of explanation, I started working on canvas tents that did indeed split when wet, a very good reason to learn about synthetic materials. I was also lucky to be designing tents when there was no rule book. I had no previous experience of tent making and had to make my own mistakes, luckily none of which had any lasting consequence. No structural calculations, nor computers. I used one of those historical relics called a drawing board.
So my journey has sort of mirrored the development of tents as a whole. Now, I use a fantastic piece of software created by our new friend Martin Brown who has worked on some of the greatest architectural fabric structures ever built. This software allows the designer to explore in a way not considered feasible before. This means that it is possible to try things 'just because I can'. It is a great aid to design and something that those tent makers on the ancient silk road would not have been able to comprehend.
Stone age habitats. Portable homes made from Mammoth bones and hide have been found at Mezhirich in the Ukraine in 1965. Part of a mammoth hunters settlement, a total of four huts were found. These huts were almost certainly portable as the hunters followed the mammoth herd around. Large bones covered with hide or woven vegetation have been reported around the world. Evidence of a wooden framed hut was found at Terra Amata near Nice, France which was dated to the Mindel Glaciation or between 450,000 and 380,000 BCE. The ephemerality of the materials makes it almost impossible for the original cloth or woven reed type cover to have survived, but in the frozen wastes of the tundra complete bodies of animals have been found with grass still in their mouths.
The rental tent contractor who found one of these has apparently decided it is still good enough to hire out and has added it to his inventory.....
"Old tentmasters never die, they simply get packed away for the winter and hauled out again in the spring....."
Contents (to date) THE BOOK OF TENTS
1.2 The Beginning Of Modern Tent Architecture1.3 A Short History Of Tents
1.4 Mammoth Houses
1.5 Yurts and Kibitkas
1.6 The Black Tent
1.7 Portable Palaces
1.8 The Development Of Technology
1.10 Tent Components, Designs And Fabrics
2 Architectural Fabric Structures
2.1 Using The Form
2.2 Those Who Lead The Way
2.3 Strength Thro Shape
2.4 Fabric Membrane Roofs In Architecture
2.5 Structural Morphology
2.6 Heavy Versus Light
2.7 Long Span Structures
2.8 Tensegrity Structures
2.9 Cable Net Roofs
2.10 Air Supported Structures
2.11 SPEED - QUALITY - ECONOMY - choose two.
3.1 The Beginning
3.2 The Design Process
3.3 The Mechanics of Membrane Design
3.4 10 Primary Steps of Membrane Design and Analysis
3.5 Design Methodology
3.6 System points
3.7 Material Properties
3.8 Factors Of Safety
3.9 Representing The Roof As A Mesh
3.10 Cutting Pattern Generation
3.11 Building Codes and materials
3.12 Compensation For Stretch
3.13 Workshop Drawings
3.14 Design Of Temporary Structures
3.15 Portal Frame Tents
3.16 Geodesic Domes - Space Frames
4.2 Software Simulation Of The Structure
4.3 Prestress and Boundary Simulation
4.4 A Typical Single Cone Structure
4.5 Side Walls
5 Specialist Software
5.1 EASY NT - Technet
5.2 NDN Membrane
6 Generic Types Of Tent
6.1 Different Types Of Tent
6.2 Pop Up Tents
6.3 The Pole Tent - A Workhorse For Three Thousand Years
6.4 Modern Tensile Tents
6.5 The 'Big Top'
6.6 Frame Tents
6.7 Rental Structures
6.8 Rental Structure Types
6.9 Luff Frame Structures - The Keder Type
6.10 Geodesic Frame Structures
6.11 Military Use
7 Project Examples
7.1 Project Overview
7.2 The Merchandiser Unit - Small Structure
7.3 40 Foot By 60 Foot Typical Pole Tent
7.4 Vehicle Awnings
7.5 Typical Tension Membrane Portable Tent
7.6 Typical Architectural Fabric Membrane Project
7.7 8m Hexagonal Frame Tent
7.8 Project - 25 Metre Frame Tent Using Keder Box Sections
7.9 Architectural Canopy Or Exhibition Sail
7.10 The Hoover 'New Technology' Building
7.11 The Kayam Theatre Tent
8.1 Woven Structural Fabrics
8.1.1 Woven Fabrics
8.1.2 Tent And Structure Linings
8.1.3 Flammability and Retardents
8.2 Coated Structural Fabrics
8.2.2 Typical Specifications Of Fabric Types
8.2.3 Translucent PVC PES Roofs
8.2.4 Translucent PTFE Fibreglass Roofs
8.2.5 PVC Coated Fabrics
8.2.6 PTFE And Silicone Coated Fabrics
8.2.7 Surface Finishing Systems
8.2.8 Ropes And Rigging
9.1 Assembling Fabric Sections
9.1.2 Sewing And Welding
9.1.3 Assembling Roof Sections
9.1.4 Joining Fabric Panels
9.1.5 Lacing Reinforcement
9.1.6 Compression Fittings
9.2.1 Ropes And Rigging
9.2.2 Steel Rope Cable
9.2.3 Motors And Controls
9.3.1 Supporting Framework
10 Product Documentation
10.1 Guarantees and Warranties
10.2 Inspection On Site
10.3 Documentation and Erection Method
11 Installation, Erection, And Maintainance
11.1 Safety Standards
11.2 Architectural Membrane Installation
11.3 Portable Membrane Erection
11.4 Erection Method - Traditional Pole Tent
11.5 Erection Method - Typical 36m Big Top with Cupola
11.6 Erection Method - Tube Frame Tents
11.8 Ground Anchors
11.9 Types Of Ground Anchor
12.1 Tent Terms