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The Nomad Concept: Textile architecture

Reconversion monastery Julianus – Tongeren – Nomad sailing in city environment

The Julianus project in Tongeren literally balances between art, design and architecture. This textile architecture seeks out the extremes of what is possible with contemporary material, static analyzes and adequate optimal forms.

The sail spreads its huge wings like a dynamic bird or dragon above the courtyard of the former monastery in Tongeren. It is a huge free span of no less than 37 by 40 meters and is supported by 3 floating masts, each 17 meters high, that balance on tensioned stainless steel cables. No mast touches the ground so that the free space on the inner courtyard can be used without hindrance. The loop-shaped “beak” pecks at the single tree in the courtyard. Because of the dramatic sculptural effect of this membrane, the architect calls his realization a “sail sculpture”.

The Tongeren membrane is realized in PTFE (better known under the Teflon brand name) with a light transmittance of 40%. Under the gray and often dark skies of the Low Countries, architecture should be as translucent as possible. This careful choice of fabric and the use of high quality AISI316 stainless steel guarantees a lifespan of more than 30 years.

Architect Amandus VanQuaille received the silver award for this project in 2012 at the renowned International Design Award.

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