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Written by Liam Patton on 16th April 2024 in Materials , Tensile Fabric Architecture

In the world of technical fabrics and tensile structures, architectural PVC  polyester fabrics have played a pivotal role in transforming the way we design and construct buildings and outdoor spaces. Over the last two decades, these technical membranes have undergone significant advancements, offering architects, designers, and builders innovative solutions for creating durable, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing structures. In this article, we will explore the remarkable changes and developments in PVC coated polyester fabrics over the past 20 years.

Enhanced Durability and Longevity

One of the most notable advancements in PVC coated polyester fabrics is the substantial increase in durability and longevity. Thanks to improved coatings, refined manufacturing techniques and better quality control, modern architectural PVC-coated polyester fabrics are better equipped to withstand the rigors of outdoor environments than those installed in decades gone by. These fabrics are now more resistant to UV radiation, extreme temperatures, and abrasion, ensuring that tensile structures maintain their integrity and appearance over the long term. A couple of examples of improvements made would be the Serge Ferrari TX30 range and the Mehler Nano range. These are the latest generation of PVFD surfaces. Setting in standards in tensile architecture, creating longer service life using new titanium technology in their coatings.

Increased Sustainability

In recent years, sustainability has become a paramount concern in construction and design. Architectural PVC polyester fabrics have evolved to meet these demands. Once considered the least environmentally friendly options, PVC polyester manufacturers have worked hard to reduce their impact on the environment. Many companies are now producing eco-friendly fabrics that are free from harmful chemicals like phthalates and heavy metals and those which contain up to 100% recycled content. Additionally, recycling programs for architectural PVC polyester fabrics have significantly expanded, making it easier to repurpose and recycle materials, reducing the environmental impact of tensile structures.

Improved Fire Resistance

Safety is a top priority in construction and architecture. The change from British Standards to Eurocodes has meant that all architectural PVC polyester fabrics have undergone significant testing for fire resistance, with many products now meeting much more stringent fire safety standards than previously required. These fabrics are engineered to provide an extra layer of protection for structures and occupants.

Advanced Coating Technologies

Advancements in coating technologies have allowed also architectural PVC polyester fabrics to achieve a higher level of performance. Innovative coating processes enhance the fabric’s resistance to water, mould, and dirt, making it easier to clean and maintain. Additionally, these coatings can provide self-cleaning properties, reducing the need for frequent maintenance.

Serge Ferrari’s cross-link PVDF lacquer is also now an option which offers an 30 year lifespan and a 25 year warranty (exclusively offered by Architen Landrell).

Aesthetic Versatility

Architectural PVC polyester fabrics are available in an ever-growing extensive range of colours, patterns, and textures, providing architects and designers with more creative freedom. These fabrics can be customized to match the aesthetic requirements of any project, from vibrant and eye-catching designs to more subtle and natural textures.

Whilst decades ago, certain colours were more likely to fade over time, developments in pigmentation technology now means that we can offer a full range of materials guaranteed to last their full design life; both aesthetically and structurally.

Improved Installation and Tensioning

Advancements in installation and tensioning techniques have made it easier and more cost-effective to work with PVC coated polyester fabrics. Innovative hardware and tensioning systems allow for quicker and more precise installations, reducing labour costs and project timelines.

Energy Efficiency

With a growing emphasis on energy efficiency, PVC coated polyester fabrics have adapted to meet these demands. Some fabrics now feature advanced thermal properties that help regulate temperature and reduce energy consumption within tensile structures, making them more comfortable and sustainable.


Over the last two decades, PVC coated polyester fabrics have undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving to meet the demands of modern architecture and construction. With increased durability, sustainability, fire resistance, advanced coatings, aesthetic versatility, improved installation methods, and enhanced energy efficiency, these fabrics have become an essential element in creating innovative and environmentally conscious tensile structures. As technology continues to advance, we can only anticipate even more exciting developments in the future of PVC coated polyester fabrics.

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Author: Liam Patton

Liam is a key member of the Sales Team with a strong background in architectural aluminium and steel.

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