One of the biggest problems of this project has been finding a material that is structurally sound, weatherproof, and has the appearence of fabric.
An alternative to substituting fabric, could be waterproofing it.
Elastomeric membrane is a waterproofing material usually used on flat roofs in order to avoid damp, and the penetration of water into the interior of the building. An elastomer is a polymer with viscoelasticity, usually referred to as rubber. As it is usually a thermoset when used in building, it makes it a very flexible material to use, and fairly durable.
Within buildings elastomers are normally applied as a paste, a paint or as a sheet (the elastomeric membrane) however, because of its properties, it can also be sprayed, providing the same level of waterproofing when set. This opens up the possibilities for different materials that can be used in an open-to-the-elements environment.
A more recent version of this waterproofing spray is the Ever Dry UltraTech spray. Using nanotechnology, UltraTech have found a way to create a barrier of air on the surface that has been coated with the spray, which therefore repels both oil based and water based substances. This, apart from keeping the coated surface clean, increases the durability of it, reducing corrosion and integration of bacteria and mould into the material.
What could this mean for my building?
The effectiveness of these products creates a lot of opportunities in the design of Fallen Fabric. Instead of using materials which imitate the properties of fabric, I can use fabric itself. The original problem of using fabric was, in part, its tendency to cultivate mould when left outside, but using this waterproofing technique would avoid that.
As it is, even with the waterproofing, I cannot use solely textiles in the building, as it is not structurally sound, or airtight enough to create a two storey, tall building which has low emissions. However, in contingence with the idea I had in the last entry I could try using the packs of waste textiles created as part of the recycling process, as building blocks, and maybe create features of the building like non moveable partitions out of them. This could be used both inside and outside because of these waterproofing technologies.