New membrane solutions
UAE architects and developers can expect membranes advances in the future.
Tokyo-headquartered Taiyo Kogyo Group currently operates in 40 countries around the world and has been involved in covering iconic projects including the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, UK; Sheikh Khalifa Stadium in Qatar; Al Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait and Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium in Dubai.
Similar Taiyo membrane technology, that covers Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, Sharm El Sheikh International Airport in Egypt, the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai and the Hajj Terminal at Jeddah International Airport in the KSA, has been used in architectural projects in this region for more than 30 years.
Of the myriad advantages offered by membrane solutions, none is more important than its energy-efficiency. Membrane roofing is able to span very large areas and allows natural light, which reduces the need for electricity. It also reflects heat, which saves energy by more effectively controlling the climate within the building.
"When you span hundreds of metres with traditional roofing materials, the amount of steel or aluminium that is required is enormous," said Sreekanth Gopi, sales and marketing manager for Taiyo Middle East LLC.
"Membrane structures, on the other hand, are much more lightweight and cost effective than those materials. Membrane structures only require about 30% of the steel required for a traditional roof, which saves wear and tear on the superstructure as well," he added.
Tensile membrane technology was traditionally limited by the difficulty with which it could be cleaned and maintained. To combat the maintenance issue, Taiyo has implemented a glass-based membrane that is coated on both sides with a Teflon-like material. This combination of materials makes for a completely waterproof membrane that is just 0.8mm thick.
To address the issue of cleaning, Taiyo has recently patented a membrane treated with titanium dioxide, which acts as a catalyst to enhance the decomposition of organic dirt. "We didn't do the Burj Al Arab, for example, but if you watch, they need to send people up to clean the membrane material about once a week," said Gopi. "Our titanium dioxide-treated membrane requires only water to clean."
For a company that manufactures more than 1.2 million m² of tensile membrane every year and is expecting more than UAE 100 million in revenue from this market, architects and developers can expect to be seeing, and using, more innovative membrane material.