Textile construction: the future of construction and architecture

Techtextil presents innovative textile concrete, membranes and foils for Buildtech 

Special exhibition ‚Textiled Spaces‘ for architects, designers, consultants and interior designers


Filigree design, lightness, corrosion resistance and material efficiency: without these characteristics future architecture is unimaginable. Based on these characteristics, textile research institutes and companies have been researching in the past years fiber-based alternative building materials and developing marketable products which shall increasingly replace conventional materials like steel and offer equal or even better material properties. How near the future of textile construction is will be demonstrated at the this year’s Techtextil trade fair where scientists and manufacturers will present their current developments in the field of construction and architecture.

As the international leading trade fair taking place every two years, Techtextil will show from May 4 to 7 all product lines and fields of application of technical textiles and nonwovens. About 500 exhibitors will present this year within the Buildtech area of application new developments regarding textile building materials. The offered materials are tightly focused on architects, builder-owners, civil engineers and construction managers.

Textile concrete is an innovative product within the scope of Buildtech. Normally grids made of steel form the backbone of concrete. They ensure stability and resistance and compensate for the missing tensile strength of the concrete. However, textile concrete whose research and development took more than twenty years in Germany uses armorings made of two- and three-dimensional glass and carbon fibers hardened in plastic material. The benefits are enormous: steel gets rusty and is covered with tons of concrete to provide protection. However, textile concrete is non-corrosive and therefore less susceptible to rust and cracks produced by salt, water and other environmental influences. As a consequence, it is more durable and therefore saves costs of maintenance and repair.

Since textile armorings which are much more stable than steel require less quantity of protecting concrete, a large quantity of material, resources and CO2 (less transportation costs) can be saved. In addition, due to the improved material properties (reduced thickness, high strength) more flexible and filigree designs such as strongly narrow stressed-skin constructions are possible.

Textile building revolution in small steps

However what about the admission and approval of textile concrete? The German Institute for Building Technology (DIBt) for the first time gave the go-ahead in 2014 for the carbon fiber reinforced lightweight construction. The procedure of armoring reinforced concrete by means of Tudalit textile concrete was approved under the technical number ‘Z-31.10-182’ by the building supervision authority. “This was a milestone,” underlined Roy Thyroff, managing director of the Tudalit textile concrete association and of V. Fraas Solutions in Textile. Civil engineers, architects and designers can now use this innovative building material specifically for indoor construction. A special training program at the European Institute for Postgraduate Education has been installed. Additional admissions and approvals are in the pipeline. At present, the German Institute for Building Technology (DIBt) according to Mr. Kulas, the Solidian head of department, is evaluating sandwich facades, complete prefabricated garages and even complete footbridges. The approval will probably be given in 2016.

Research as a basis

Gigantic stadium roofs made of so-called textile membranes, varicolored facades made of textile concrete and textile insulating boards and heat insulating roof coverings have long become state of the art. For all of them, a many years research is a common basis. After all, construction and architecture are not the first sectors that were conquered by fibers: “We have already experienced in the aircraft and automobile construction how lightweight construction materials in the form of technical textiles can reasonably complement and partly replace conventional materials” says Dr. Klaus Jansen of the Forschungskuratorium Textil e. V., umbrella organization the industrial collective fiber research activities in Germany.


For a systematic research work, the German textile research has found potentials and requirements within the field or architecture. This is a small excerpt of the future project called “Perspectives 2025”: increased use of natural fibers like flax or hemp (for use in nature identical insulating materials or for the construction of new buildings), energy recovering and energy self-sufficient houses, self-cleaning building surfaces, lightweight structures based on bionic examples and textile-based sensoric technology which according to experts will have a huge potential in the future. By this way, in future fiber-based building elements shall be provided with intelligent integrated supplementary functions such as illuminations, measurement of degree of moisture or stability, heatability, smoke and fire alarm or penetration of water.

By this way, textile architecture already is using at this stage technical textiles and composite material not only for roof constructions or air-inflated structures but also for fire-proof curtains, drainages for foundations, roof gardens or as geotextiles in underground engineering. Wide roof constructions with textile façade coverings made of glass fiber fabrics or polyester fiber fabrics are impressing architects and civil engineers, too.

Textiled Spaces‘ exhibition

An exhibition that is particularly focused on civil engineers, architects, designers and interior designers is the photographic exhibition ‚Textiled Spaces‘ presented in hall 4.1. The exhibition shows selected photographs made by Deidi von Schaeven an artist and photographer who is living in Paris. The internationally renowned photographer travelled the entire world and has sold thousands of illustrated books. During her work, she always had a special eye for the beauty and charm of fleeting buildings and urban installations. These photographic souvenirs have now summarized over many years in a very special oeuvre. ‚Textiled Spaces’ presents numerous oeuvres which demonstrate the variety and aesthetics of technical textiles within unusual and extraordinary urban and architectonic environments. The exhibition intends to motivate the contemplator to develop a new view of the beauty of these textile spaces and rooms. The curator of the exhibition is Architonic, an independent online platform for architecture and design.

For further information on the Textextil fair please visit






Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is one of the world’s leading trade fair organisers, generating around €550* million in sales and employing more than 2200* people worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries and around 50 international Sales Partners, allowing it to serve its customers on location in more than 160 countries. Messe Frankfurt events take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2014, Messe Frankfurt organised a total of 120* trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany.

Comprising an area of 578,000 square metres, Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition grounds are home to ten exhibition halls. The company also operates two congress centres.

The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent.

For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com

* preliminary numbers (2014)



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