The School of Engineering at the American University in Dubai (AUD) hosted recently the 2nd International Symposium on Architectural Membranes (ISAM 2009), in collaboration with Verseidag Indutex GmbH – Germany, the worldwide manufacturer of quality textile architecture and tensile fabrics. The two-day seminar was delivered by a wide range of prominent international speakers and attended by students and faculty members from the AUD community, alongside professionals and leaders from the tensile structures industry, and construction and engineering sectors in the region.
The objectives of ISAM 2009 were to provide information on fundamental properties and present the state-of the-art in textile roof design and optimization. The symposium featured some of the best-suited techniques to realize complex architectural designs using tensile structures and eco-friendly architectural fabrics.
On the significance such conferences, Dr. Elias Saqan, Chair and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the AUD School of Engineering, comments:
“This symposium was a great opportunity for our students to hear and learn from renowned authorities in the subject of tensile structures and from the designers of some of the world’s largest projects of architectural membranes. They also had a chance to have hands-on experience in building models of tensile structures and to learn about the design software packages used for such structures. It is our goal to provide our students with unique opportunities for professional development by having strong ties with the industry as well as by exposing them to the latest advances in the field of civil engineering.”
The symposium highlighted the theoretical bases for structural analysis and design necessary for efficient and robust computer implementation, and presented the new design code for tensile fabric structures. It also touched upon the technical properties of tensile structures, designs, and case studies.
Commenting on the educational facet of the seminar, Mr. Mohammad Bahsh, Duraskin Segment Regional Manager and member of the ISAM organizing committee, elaborates:
“The Symposium offered a great opportunity for delegates from all around the region to meet in one place, thanks to the school of Engineering at AUD, and exchange ideas and own experiences, as this event is the first professional one of its kind in the Middle East. Our speakers are of outstanding quality and the Symposium was deliberately planned with a great deal of emphasis on challenging case studies and practical issues.”
Among the symposium’s prominent speakers, from UAE-based companies and institutions, were: Dr. Elias Saqan of AUD, Engineer Gaby Awad of SAS Fabric Industries, and Architect Maqsood Ahmed of the Affan Innovative Structures; from Germany-based companies: Engineer Henric Leuer of Verseidag Indutex GmbH, Prof. Dr. Robert Off of the Institute for Membrane and Shell Technologies, Dr. Heidrun Bögner-Balz of Laboratorium Blum, Dr. Dieter Ströbel of Technet, Engineer Jörg Tritthardt of Tritthardt Engineering, Engineer Klaus Gipperich of CenoTech, Architect Martin Glass of GMP Architects, and Engineer Michal Wolf of Hightex; from Italy-based companies: Engineer Gerry d'Anza of Baku Group; from Iran: Architect Leila Araghian of the BIBA Research Center, and from Jordan-based companies’ branches: Mr. Mohammad El Bahsh of Verseidag Indutex.
A series of fifteen presentations were delivered on topics of a highly practical nature, such as: Architectural and Technical Principles of Tensioned Structure; Technical and Physical Properties of Architectural Fabrics; Form finding and Analysis with Easy Software; Detailing Design of Membrane Structures Process from Drawing to Final Form; New Design Guide for Fabric Structures; A Case Study of the Rhein-Neckar Arena; A Case Study of Current Tensile Structure Projects; Form finding and Analysis with Forten Software; Building Physics; Introduction to the Tensile Structure in Iran; the Enhancement of Green Environment by Reducing Carbon Foot Print in Architecture Fabrics; A Case Study of Soccer City - Stadium in Johannesburg; the UAE Tensile Structure Market Experience; A Case Study of a Special Master Degree Program in Tensile Architecture; and a Focus Group Session.
During the second day of the workshop, both professionals and students enjoyed the half-day focused practical sessions in manufacturing tensile structure models and software training, and participated in tutorial sessions.
Many saw great value in such a focused two-day event and requested that events of a similar nature be organized in the future. Ahmed Shalaby, Area Manager at Masy International in Bahrain, asserts:
“The seminar was well-organized and I believe everybody benefited from the lectures delivered by valuable experts and professionals in the field of tensile structures. The interaction between people of different nationalities and professional backgrounds – from all over the world – was also another extraordinary feature of the seminar.”
The seminar proved to be very educational, interactive and dynamic. Participants commented that many of the presentations were ‘evocative’ and would help practicing engineers and architects to think ‘outside the box’ when considering solutions to tensile structures and architectural roofing problems.
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