Wrinkle-Free Membrane Surface After Almost 30 Years

M.O.M.R.A. Garden Tent 1995-2022

As early as 1995, SL Rasch GmbH designed a garden tent for the Ministry of Municipal & Rural Affairs (MoMRA) in Riyadh and realised it together with the company Koch Hightex. Almost three decades after completion, the construction is still in perfect condition with a wrinkle-free membrane surface. The signs of time pass it by almost without a trace, despite the extreme desert climate in Saudi Arabia and the highest daily UV exposure.

A successful example of how the consistent application of scientific methods in development and the use of the highest quality materials can create durable tent structures that also combine lightness and aesthetics in their appearance.

The tent in its simplicity exemplifies how building can be realised in harmony with the environment. Technology and nature come together in this place and are in constant interaction with each other. As the garden grows and flourishes, it also changes the appearance of the tent without restricting its original function. A place of peace and contemplation that invites you to linger in the midst of the urban hustle and bustle.

The geometry of the saddle-shaped curved tent membrane is a minimal surface that was digitally generated and calculated by an algorithm. The result is a tension-equal, smallest surface within a given edge configuration, very much like soap skins in nature. Since these minimal surfaces already occupy the smallest possible surface area, no wrinkles can form over time due to differently stressed areas of the fabric. External influences such as wind are distributed much more evenly on these surfaces than on non-stressed ones. There, stiffer sections absorb correspondingly more load than soft ones, which leads to faster ageing of the membrane construction.

The membrane surface itself is made of weather-resistant, Teflon-coated glass fibre fabric. The ropes of the edge and ridge reinforcements as well as the articulated masts are made of stainless steel, which is additionally coated and to this day shows no trace of flash rust. All details are designed in such a way that deformations of the membrane structure in the wind can be absorbed without constraint and thus without damage in the long term.

The decisive factors for the first-class condition of the tent are therefore a simple, natural geometry, a detail design that can react flexibly to external influences, high-quality material and flawless manufacturing.