Improving the water system on Penn State University’s main campus included replacing the water tower, and with its replacement came the opportunity to create an oasis-like area.
The new water tower includes a seating and stage area covered by Flexlight Xtrem TX30-III membrane from Serge Ferrari, the company says. Initial design of the tensile structure combined the talents of Derek Kalp, PLA, ASLA, and landscape architect at the Penn State Physical Plant, and students at the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Kalp’s alma mater.
In addition to the aesthetics of the project, the tensile canopies serve as shelter to protect students and staff from the elements, as well as the tower’s condensation.
Dirk Cos, president of Lightweight Manufacturing and Lightweight Design, the project’s fabricators, noted his choice of Flexlight Xtrem for its crosslink topcoat that helps keep the fabric clean and aids resistance to photo-oxidation and micro-cracks, the company reports.
The project also had to consider natural light transmission and protection from heat during the day to ensure people using the structures are comfortable. Nighttime use is enabled by LED lighting— encouraging gathering and performing in the evening, too.
Serge Ferrari is a manufacturer of flexible composite membranes used globally for the solar protection, architectural, building facade, acoustics, modular structure, marine, furniture and visual communication markets.