Fiberglass Structural Shapes on Rooftops Around the World
Updated: Article originally published on 06/06/2019
Fiberglass structural shapes are the latest in an extremely long line of architectural composite materials. The very first structures erected by mankind were built of a rudimentary composite known as adobe, made up of mud, sand, and water with an organic binder. Architects have carried the talent for composing new construction materials from various components right through to the modern age.
Concrete is the chief composite used in architectural applications today, yet it is incredibly similar to early adobe materials, comprising cement powder, sand, water, and an aggregate clinker. Remarkable parallels can reasonably be drawn, therefore, between mudbrick homes from 6500 BCE to the reinforced concrete roof of the Roman Pantheon, or every single iconic skyline around the world.
Fiberglass structural shapes are now taking this penchant for innovation a step further. They are manufactured by reinforcing a functional liquid resin matrix with an inorganic fiberglass textile before the near-net-shape is cured and profiled. The properties of the end-product depend on these constituent parts, but fiberglass structural shapes have a reputation for outstanding strength-to-weight performance ratios.
If you are interested in the architectural applications of Strongwell fiberglass products, read our previous blog post: 4 Striking Architectural Designs Using Fiberglass Products.
Architects are still exploring the boundaries of what fiberglass structural shapes are capable of in domestic, industrial, and commercial spaces. However, at Strongwell we have already supplied reinforced composite elements for numerous innovative architectural projects, including novel green rooftops and aesthetic cellular screens.
Here we will take a look at a few innovative rooftop projects designed using Strongwell fiberglass structural shapes.
Radial Polymer Composite Rooftop Screening
The primary benefit of using fiberglass structural shapes for rooftop architecture is their high-strength low-weight characteristics. These exceed virtually all other structural alternatives, including concrete and steel. As a result, architects can design more elaborate and aesthetically-pleasing rooftops without compromising on structural integrity, or cellular functionality.
Polymer composites are preferential for rooftop screenings due to their electromagnetic transparency. Radio waves and electronic frequencies can pass through their reinforced matrix without losing signal strength. Cellular arrays and cables on commercial buildings are commonly screening using fiberglass structural shapes for this reason.
EXTREN® Structural Shapes were used to construct a striking radial screen around the cellular array on a rooftop in West Los Angeles.
Sustainable Rooftop with Polymer Composite Grating
In a bid to revitalize the Gordon Persons Building in Montgomery, Alabama, architects designed a sophisticated rooftop design comprising DURAGRATE® composites and EXTREN® fiberglass structural shapes. This project was geared towards greater sustainability, enabling the absorption of stormwater runoff which is believed to reduce the urban heat island effect while providing additional insulation to buildings and improving internal air quality.
Polymer Composite Tiling
The extraordinary versatility of polymer composites in architectural spaces is best exemplified by a project in Bothell, Washington. Two buildings were topped with cellular screening modules that were tiled with SAFPLATE® fiberglass plates, creating a textured grid pattern that matched the ceramic tiling on the original office buildings. Alongside the obviously reduced installation costs, this provided additional benefits in the form of cellular transparency and aesthetic uniformity.