ETFE hailed by international architects
ETFE has once again been praised by international media, with a feature in Architecture Now having particularly caught our attention.
The editor’s choice column asked if plastic has grown to become one of the most underrepresented and under-appreciated materials in the world, suggesting that, until recently, the design industry has dismissed its suitability for use as a primary construction material.
But as the piece went on to highlight, there are some stand-out examples of work across the globe which showcase just how much potential plastic can have when it comes to striking buildings and structures.
This is largely because ETFE is not a plastic as we know it; it is a fluoropolymer made from fluoride and chloroform. Hailed by many as a next-generation material, Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene is a complex, high strength polymer that outshines traditional plastics and fluoropolymers when it comes to longevity and environmental robustness.
It has certainly taken the world of architectural engineering and technology by storm due to its durability, G-value and light transmittance control, UVA transparency, cost-effectiveness, lightness and energy efficiency. In fact, this extensive list of benefits has been the focal point of one of our recent blogs.
It was great that the Architecture Now article stressed how long ETFE has actually been gradually revolutionising building and facade design. With roots dating back to the 1970s, the material that began life as a heat-resistant film coating for the aeronautics industry was then catapulted into the spotlight at the UK’s Eden Project.
It has been used in a number of high profile sports stadiums, schools, leisure parks, commercial atriums and more, ever since.
So, whilst this backlog of success may make for a surprising read for some people, it explains why we have decades of collective experience working with this exciting material. It may not need cleaning as plastics such as PVC and PTFE fabrics do, but it still requires proactive preventative inspections, maintenance and repairs when the unexpected happens.
What is really exciting for us is the opportunity to maximise the decades of potential that ETFE has.
If you require any maintenance support for your ETFE structure, or you’d like to speak to one of our ETFE experts regarding your needs on ground or at height, please contact us.