Apr 015 min read

Unveiling 6 Remarkable Uses of Fabric in Architecture

written by

Team Kaarwan

From temporary covers for shelters to sophisticated facades and portable roofs, the use of fabric in architecture has evolved remarkably over the centuries. This evolution reflects not only technological advancements but also a deepening understanding of sustainability and design flexibility. Today, fabrics play a crucial role in fulfilling environmental targets, managing stormwater, decreasing the urban heat island effect, and providing quick installation times and processes. 

Fabrics are an incredibly versatile medium that embodies beauty and form with minimal resources. They offer exceptional design flexibility, durability, and low maintenance, making them a popular choice in modern architecture.

Here, we’ve rounded up 6 of the world’s most interesting structures highlighting the use of fabrics!

1. King Fahad National Library (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

The King Fahad National Library in Riyadh is a prime example of innovative fabric use. The facade is composed of rhomboid, white textile awnings that partly conceal the structure. Supported by tensile-stressed steel cables, these awnings act as sunshades and interpret the Arabian tent structure tradition in a modern, technological way. This design not only provides aesthetic appeal but also helps in regulating the building's temperature, reducing the need for artificial cooling.

Remarkable Uses of Fabric in Architecture - image 1Source: Archdaily

2. Tavaru restaurant and bar (Noonu Atoll, Maldives)

The Tavaru Restaurant and Bar in the Maldives features a tower veiled in a light grey semi-transparent curtain. This curtain acts as a landmark and offers panoramic views of the island. Additionally, it creates a suitable micro-climate for the storage and preservation of wine. The use of fabric in this context enhances the building's functionality while adding a distinctive visual element that complements the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Remarkable Uses of Fabric in Architecture - image 2Source: Archdaily

3. Arena da Amazonia (Manaus, Brazil)

Located in the hot and humid climate of the Amazon, the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus utilizes translucent glass fiber fabric for its roof and facade panels. The roof extends into the facade, making the internal space cooler and reflecting excess daylight. This design reduces the reliance on artificial lighting and cooling, promoting energy efficiency. The fabric's translucency allows for natural light to permeate the space while providing protection from the intense Amazonian sun.

Remarkable Uses of Fabric in Architecture - image 3Source: Archdaily

4. Merkez Ankara showroom (Ankara, Turkey)

The Merkez Ankara showroom features a folded fabric shell that wraps around the building. This innovative design provides sun shading while creating a striking image of the building both during the day and night. The diffused facade ensures that the internal gardens receive equal natural light, promoting a pleasant indoor environment. This use of fabric not only enhances the building's energy efficiency but also contributes to its unique architectural identity.

Remarkable Uses of Fabric in Architecture - image 4Source: Archdaily

5. Stadium of Unico Ciudad (la Plata, Argentina)

In La Plata, Argentina, the Stadium of Unico Ciudad incorporates a complete portable roof crafted with a tight structure of steel latticework covered with fiberglass mesh and a Teflon cover. This design allows the roof to be used under any weather conditions, providing flexibility and functionality. The lightweight nature of the fabric makes it easy to move, while its durability ensures long-term performance. This innovative use of fabric demonstrates its potential in large-scale sports architecture.

Remarkable Uses of Fabric in Architecture - image 5Source: Archdaily

6. Spanish pavilion (UAE, Dubai)

The Spanish Pavilion in Dubai showcases the potential of reusable materials in architecture. Constructed from reusable fabrics, the pavilion's conical shape and fabric use increase airflow, modulating the temperature and providing an eco-friendly way for visitors to stay cool. This design not only highlights the sustainability aspect of fabric use but also creates a comfortable environment for visitors, showcasing how architecture can harmonize with nature.

Remarkable Uses of Fabric in Architecture - image 6Source: Archdaily

The Future of Fabric in Architecture

The examples above highlight the versatility and potential of fabric in contemporary architecture. As technology continues to advance, the use of fabrics is likely to expand further, offering new possibilities for design and sustainability. Fabric structures can adapt to various climatic conditions, providing solutions that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. They represent a forward-thinking approach to architecture, where form and function coexist harmoniously.


Fabric has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a temporary shelter cover. Today, it plays a significant role in modern architecture, offering numerous benefits, including environmental sustainability, design flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. The structures highlighted in this article demonstrate the diverse applications of fabric, showcasing its potential to revolutionize architectural design. As architects continue to explore innovative uses for fabric, we can expect to see even more groundbreaking structures in the future.


Q1: What are some benefits of using fabric in architecture?

A1: Fabric in architecture offers environmental targets fulfillment, stormwater management, decreased urban heat island effect, quick installation, design flexibility, durability, and low maintenance.

Q2: Can you provide examples of structures highlighting the use of fabrics?

A2: Examples include the King Fahad National Library in Riyadh, Tavaru restaurant and bar in the Maldives, Arena da Amazonia in Brazil, Merkez Ankara showroom in Turkey, Stadium of Unico Ciudad in Argentina, and the Spanish pavilion in Dubai.

Q3: How is fabric used in the King Fahad National Library?

A3: The facade of the King Fahad National Library in Riyadh features rhomboid, white textile awnings supported by tensile-stressed steel cables, acting as sunshades and modern interpretations of Arabian tent structures.

Q4: What purpose does fabric serve in the Arena da Amazonia?

A4: In the Arena da Amazonia in Brazil, translucent glass fiber fabric is used in the roof and facade panels to create a cooler internal space by reflecting excess daylight, suitable for the hot and humid climate of the Amazon.

Q5: How does fabric contribute to the design of the Merkez Ankara showroom?

A5: The Merkez Ankara showroom in Turkey utilizes a folded fabric shell for sun shading, creating a distinctive image during the day and night while ensuring equal natural light distribution to internal gardens.

The future of architecture is bright, but are your skills keeping pace? Kaarwan's architecture-specific courses provide you with the knowledge and tools to confidently navigate the AEC industry. Gain valuable insights, master in-demand software, and stand out with designs that impress!

Team Kaarwan

Team Kaarwan

Since graduating from IIT Roorkee, we've been on a mission to democratize education through affordable online and offline workshops and courses. These equip students with architecture industry-relevant skills, boosting their employability across the Indian subcontinent.