© 2024 FTL Architecture & Engineering Associates, PC
  • 1964-65

    NY World's Fair

    Nic Goldsmith inspired by pavilions looking at the future including the IBM People Wall by Saarinen and Eames, Tomorrowland and the GM Futurama.

    Cornell University 

    Nic Goldsmith joins Todd Dalland and Denis Hector at EZ Builders, a group interested spatial structures of Nervi, Bucky Fuller, Felix Candela, and Frei Otto. Projects include music paviion for Deep Purple.

    Atelier Frei Otto

    Nic Goldsmith works for Frei Otto in Germany on designs for Pink Floyd, a Munich Aviary, and a Saudi Parliament Building. He works with Engineers Ted Happold, Peter Rice, Ian Liddell & Michael Dickson.

    Goldsmith returns to America and joins Todd & Ross Dalland at Future Tents. Their first projects include the first rental tent system using tensile structure technology for Anchor and canopies for White House in DC


    Capitol Bandshell

    Denis Hector joins FTL and they design the Bandshell at the Capitol in DC. Goldsmith learns about outdoor acoustics working with Chris Jaffe and Misty Rostopovich  (Music director of NSO) with fabric structures

  • 1981

    FTL designs the Pier 6 Performance Pavilion in Baltimore, a 2,000 seat covered permanent pavilion for BSO. Yehudi Menuhin inaugurates pavilion calling it the “best outdoor acoustics”.

    Future Tents Ltd

    Future Tents Ltd changes name to FTL Associates and Denis Hector and Ross Dalland leave firm for university and individual practice respectively. Projects include Pensacola Swimming Pool & Bradford Exchange.

       NG wins Art on Beach Project with Artist Dennis Adams & performer Ann Magnuson for “Sign/Stage” featuring a combined photo tensile structure with Reagan’s image and stage, considered seminal 80’s public art

               Nic Goldsmith meets Donna Karan at a Jonathan Borofsky show at the Whitney Museum and proceeds to design the first Donna Karan Showroom, her first Fashion Show and first Boutique


    FTL designs for Donna Karan 1989 – 1997 including the DKNY HQ, a twelve story gut rehab on West 40th and countless fashion shows, develops branded graphics as spatial elements and receives AIA Award for the DKNY Building. 

  • 1990

    Classic FTL Projects during this time include a tensile structure at the Finnish Chancery in Washington DC & a Staten Island Bus Station

    Nic Goldsmith & team design Carlos Moseley Pavilion for Metropolitan Opera & NY Philharmonic: 7 semi trailer trucks assembled with a crew of 11 men in 4 hours. It receives the NYC Bard Award.

    FTL joins with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers UK to become FTL Happold based in NYC. Projects include a leisure center for MOMRA in Saudi Arabia and traveling theaters for Cadillac.


    FTLH designs the Phoenix Library Shading System for Wil Bruder using the first custom designed vertical solar tensile system integrated into glass curtain wall. 


    FTLH designs 5 projects for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics including the AT&T Pavilion, the Look of the Games, urban planning for Centennial Park, Athlete’s Village Icon, and the AT&T Consumer Pavilion. FTL sets up a Atlanta office for the Games

  • 1997

    FTLH designs the enclosure skin for the first Cirque de Soleil permanent home (theater designed by Rockwell Architects), and a stainless steel cable net as the Russell Aitken Bird Aviary for the Bronx Zoo

    Nic Goldsmith designs a photo-voltaic exhibit, entitled “Under the Sun” for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in NY and the Smithsonian in Washington DC which includes the first use of a PV laminated on a tensile structure.

    FTL Happold designs building envelope for Skyscape, a recyclable multi-cinema building skin for Millennium Dome site in Greenwich UK.

    FTL Happold experiences 9/11 three blocks from Ground Zero, designs Wayfinding elements for the Port Authority for Ground Zero, a temp memorial for fireman & police, a temporary ferry terminal, and a temporary morgue at Bellevue Hospital.

    Buro Happold & FTL separate. FTL becomes FTL Design Engineering Studio. FTL designs a traveling exhibition building for Harley-Davidson’s 100 Anniversary tour: Open Road 2003 with Pentagram as exhibit designers.

  • 2003

    FTL designs Entry at the Hampton Roads Convention Center for HOK, the Mesa Shading System, a traveling exhibit for Dyson, a maintenance building for Battery Park NYC, and an ice rink in Des Moines.

    New materials: polycarbonate

    Nic Goldsmith reconfigures the firm leading FTL Design Engineering with Joe Schedlbauer, Ashish Soni and Mercedes Gonzalez. New work includes a new cantina at the Santa Fe Opera. 

    FTL develop new structural types including a shaded plaza at the ASU new Campus in Phoenix called 'Skysong' with Pei Cobb Freed Architects and the Sun Valley Pavillion in Idaho using a steel cable net with wood cladding. 

    FTL designs and engineers a new transit center for downtown Detroit named after Rosa Parks as an intermodal hub connecting to the People Mover. 

    FTL designed Louis Vuitton's shading system for a stand alone store in Marina Bay Singapore. FTL's system for the faceted glass facades was a custom skin covering both the ceilings and the walls to allow natural light diffusion and eliminate heat gain.

  • 2014

    FTL designs and engineers an ETFE foil pillow porte-cochere for the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, NY with Studio V Architects. Project incorporates daylighting and LED lighting and pillow system is supported by a steel grid shell structure.

    FTL developed the tensile canopies for 24 NYC terminals throughout the five boroughs. Working with McLaren Engineering, these ferries provided a new transportation mode for the City of New York.

    FTL designed exotic tensile structure canopies for Universal Water Parks Volcano Bay in Orlando using multi-printed fabrics to give rain and sun protection to the visitor experience.

    FTL designed a demountable terrace enclosure with tensile roof and operable glass sidewalls, creating a space which can be heated and enclosed or open and outdoors.

    FTL developed a new design seating 6,000 for Bridgeport CT turning an old stadium into a new covered Live Nation music facility.


Exotic Materials

Sustainable Enclosures

Innovative Skins

Lightweight Structures

Tensile Architecture


Please contact Nic Goldsmith.

Nic Goldsmith

T 917 992 9501 nic.goldsmith@tylin.com

Mailling Address
FTL Design Englneering Studio
430 Greenwich Street 5E/6E New York, NY 10013 USA

The Aga Khan Garden Talar
Edition Hotel Terrace Bar
SummerStage Central Park NYC
The Friar Center, Providence College
Harbor Yard Amphitheater

NEWS ArticlesBack

Sunday,  January 26, 2020


We are pleased to announce Nic Goldsmith’s new book MASS to MEMBRANE published by ORO Editions and available now.

Buy on Amazon

Mass to Membrane ArticlesBack


We are pleased to announce Nic Goldsmith’s new book MASS to MEMBRANE published by ORO Editions and available now.

Buy on Amazon

The Aga Khan Garden is a gift to the University of Alberta from His Highness the Aga Khan,. Construction on the Garden, recently completed, marked both the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation. FTL designed and engineered the canopies for the landscape design firm Nelson Byrd Woltz.

FTL designed an enclosed terrace for the Times Square luxury hotel using a translucent membrane, integrated lighting and heated paving for dining and special events. The unique dining experience was developed by Chef John Fraser and opened in 2018.

This past summer FTL completed an enlargement of the seasonal SummerStage facility in Central Park which it originally designed in 2000. The new facility incorporates a new stage, larger roof canopy and raised bleachers along the perimeter creating an amphitheater quality to the new facility.

Providence College\'s new $30 million Ruane Friar Development Center will open in 2021. The Center will be a multi-purpose building that will significantly enhance athletics, student services, and College community life. FTL working with Perkins Eastman Architects as special structures consultant developed a three layer ETFE fritted foil roof which encloses a former outdoor street joining three athletic facilities.

FTL is currently engaged in the conversion of the abandoned minor league Bluefish Stadium in Bridgeport, Connecticut, into a performance venue. The adaptive reuse project incorporates the existing stadium seating and the addition of a new permanent membrane roof to create a 6,000 seat enclosed music pavilion.


ATA Top Winner Fabric Structures Bridgeport, CT

Excelsior Award for Public Architecture: Empire City Casino Porte Cochere, ETFE foil pillow system, Yonkers, NY

IFAI Award for Free Standing Structures: Prince George Ferry Terminal, Staten Island


IFAI Award of Excellence for Empire City Casino Porte Cochere with Birdair, ETFE Foil pillow system, Yonkers NY


ARE Design Awards Grand Prize: Louis Vuitton Island Maison, Complete shading system for glass enclosed island in Singapore.

IFAI Outstanding Achievement Award for Tensile Structures: The United Nations Porte Cochere, New York


Tucker Award from the Building Stone Institute: The Sun Valley Pavillion, ID & The NorthWest AIA Award: The Sun Valley Pavillion
IFAI Award of Excellence: The Rosa Parks Transit Center, Detroit & the Midwest AIA Award: The Rosa Parks Transit Center, Detroit

IFAI Outstanding Achievement Award for Santa Fe Opera, Cantina Tensile structure, NM

IFAI Outstanding Achievement Award: The City Place Bandshell at CityPlace FL

IFAI Outstanding Achievement Award: The Charlottesville Amphitheater, VA; ID  40: Unsung Heroes, ID Magazine

3 Outstanding Achievement Awards for Tensile Structures of the Industrial Fabric Association International for Dyson Event Tour, the Mesa Arts Center, and the Hampton Roads Convention Center

DuPont Benedictus Glass Award for the Under the Sun Glass Pavilion

IDEA Bronze Award (Industrial Design Excellence) for the exhibit 'Under the Sun: an Outdoor Exhibition of Light'


American Institute of Architects New York Chapter Citation for the Bronx Zoo's Russell B. Aitken Seabird Aviary.

Nicholas Goldsmith was elevated to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects (FAIA)

Progressive Architecture Award for the Korean Presbyterian Church of New York

Recipient of Six International Achievement Awards sponsored by the IFAI, for projects including the ATT Global Olympic Village in the 1996 Atlanta Games, the Olympic Pyramids at the 1996 Atlanta Games, the Seventh on Sixth Fashion Village in Bryant Park, NY, the VSI Pavilion, a traveling deployable theater, the Darien Lake Amphitheater in Darien Center, NY, the COMRAS Bronx Park bandshell in Bronx, NY.

Design Competition for the Platform Roofing of Helsinki Railway Station, Third Prize.

Gala Awards 'Best Achievement in Technical Support' sponsored by Special Events Magazine, for the ATT Global Olympic Village in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

USITT (United States Institute for Theater Technology) Award of Merit for the Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion.

28th Bard Award for Excellence in Architecture and Urban Design for the Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion.

Boston Harborlights Pavilion 'Best New Major Concert Venue' by Pollstar Magazine at the 1994 Concert Industry Awards.

'Emerging Voice' Award from the NY Architectural League.

Record Interiors Award (Architectural Record Magazine) for 'Excellence in Planning and Design'

14th Annual Interiors Award (Interiors Magazine) for 'Best in Showroom Design' for the Carmelo Pomodoro Showroom and Offices. New York State AIA award for Excellence in Design for the DKNY Showroom Building.

Metal Construction Association Honor Award for the DKNY Building.

ID 'Environments' Award.

Winner of the Kuwait Health Club Invited Competition for a two million sq. ft.health club facility.

Waterfront Center's Award for the Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point Park, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Nic Goldsmith FAIA LEED AP

As FTL Design and Engineering Studio's founder & Senior Principal, Goldsmith has led the firm's legacy projects including portable and permanent buildings such as the Carlos Moseley Pavilion for the Met Opera and The NY Philharmonic, the DKNY World Headquarters, and the Cirque du Soleil Structures at Disney World. Recently, Goldsmith has expanded the firm's focus to applying his 'formfinding' design philosophy to new materials such as cable nets and foil pillow structures. Recent projects include, SkySong, a 50,000 sq ft shade structure for an ASU mixed-use office and research complex in Scottsdale AZ and the Sun Valley Pavilion, a performance amphitheater in Idaho.

An AIA Fellow, Goldsmith's other awards at FTL include the DuPont Benedictus Award, the IDEA Bronze Award, numerous AIA Awards, over 30 IFAI Awards, the 28th Bard Award for Excellence in Architecture and Urban Design, the 1990 Cincinnati Waterfront Center's Award, and Governors Design Award of the State of Florida.

Mr. Goldsmith has designed several exhibitions including "Under the Sun", a solar exhibition for the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum & the Smithsonian Institution, and a traveling interactive exhibition for the United Nations (UNFPA).

From 1990 to 2004, Mr. Goldsmith was a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Design Studio of University of Pennsylvania. He was a visiting Professor at the Pratt School of Architecture with a workshop, "Formfinding through Physical Modeling" from 1992 through 1997 and a Visiting Professor at Innsbruck, Austria in 2001 & 2014. He has given a wide range of lectures on lightweight structures in the US, the UK, Germany and South America. He was the former Chairman of the Lightweight Structures Association of the Americas and has been featured in innumerable publications including an Architectural Monograph titled: FTL: SOFTNESS, MOVEMENT

Matthew Hilyard RA

In the past nine years Matt has led the design of several highly visible projects including the Louis Vuitton Island Maison in Singapore; Empire City Casino Porte Cochere in Yonkers NY and the UN interim canopy in NYC.

In 2004-2005, Matthew was an Intermediate Designer with SOM. Responsible for conceptual and schematic design of Moynihan and Penn Station projects, in NYC. Mr Hilyard has presented research "Emmerich Type Modular Tensegrity Systems" in 2000 at the International Colloquium: Structural Morphology Bridge between Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Tech. at Delft , The Netherlands. This work continued most recently as a collaborative project with Haresh Lalvani, developing proprietary morphologies for curved architectural surfaces.

Ashish Soni

Ashish Soni is a Principal of FTL having joined the firm in 2000. Over the last ten years he has led the Studio on several of their most prestigious projects, including USS Arizona Interpretation Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Lac Mirabel, a 40,000 sq ft enclosed 'greenhouse' destination retail center near Montreal, Canada; and Rosa Parks Transit Center in Detroit, Michigan. In addition, he has developed many of the FTL's traveling projects including the US Dyson D-Tour and the Harley-Davidson's 100th Anniversary World Tour.

Prior to joining FTL, Ashish was a Project Architect at Design Associates in New Delhi, India working on projects including the American Embassy School New Delhi, the Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai, the Radisson in Jalandhar and the Nikko Metropolitan Hotel in New Delhi.

From 1994 to 1996, Ashish worked as a Junior Architect at Jasbir Sawhney and Associates, New Delhi developing the design for the Sanskrit School in New Delhi and International Informatics corporate offices in New Delhi.

Mr. Soni received a GFSA Scholarship in Emerging Technologies with Prof. Peter McCleary at the University of Pennsylvania, the Bharat Mansingh Rana Award for outstanding thesis at the Sushant School for Art and Architecture and the World Habitat day Award and numerous awards at FTL.

Erik Smith PE

Erik is the Engineering Principal whose interest is exploring the interface between form and structure using nontraditional materials and techniques. In 2001 He graduated first in his class with a degree in structural engineering and in the fall of 2006 he graduated from grad school in Architecture and received the AIA medal for excellence in design. His background in both engineering and architecture gives a unique perspective that meshes with the goals and work of FTL. He has participated in many varying roles within the firm from working as an architectural designer, to overseeing construction administration and contract drawings, to performing non-linear large deflection three dimensional finite element analysis. Projects include tensile membranes, foil cushions, cable and frame structures.


The history of building is a slow evolution from mass to membrane, from heavy stone structures to luminous, lightweight, flexible and environmentally responsible structures. The investigation of these new light and flexible technologies is at the core of FTL.

We explore lightness as a visual, physical and sustainable approach, using a minimum of materials to impact our planet, using a physical lightness of form and its visual effect of light on structure. We seek to build responsive structures that contain spaces which inspire, a place where building, nature and people can meet.


Design and Engineering of Innovative Structures

Concept design
Physical modeling
Computer form finding
Computer structural analysis with reaction loads
Detail design drawings
Computer graphics
Cutting patterns
Solar and Shading studies


Concept exploration Every project is guided from start to finish by one of the firm's principals. Projects often begin with an intensive charette. At this stage, FTL's design engineers collaborate with clients in an in-depth exploration of the project's parameters.

Form-finding A full gamut of ideas are developed and examined in real-time with the use of the firm's model-making eloquence. These physical and digital models play a key role in the exploration ideas. Physical models provide immediate and intuitive insights. Digital models provide platforms for in-depth, mathematical analysis. The active interplay between physical and digital models at this stage ensures that all facets of the project are brought to light and thoroughly addressed before a mature design concept is formulated.

In-depth analysis The designs are then subjected to rigorous analysis with FTL's customized engineering software. The firm employs a variety of digital simulations to model kinetics, elastic behavior, surface stresses, deflections, surface patterning and reaction loads.

Feedback and presentation Feedback with the client throughout the process guarantees that the project's objectives are being fully met. The firm can also support the project team in delivering convincing presentations to investors, community groups and other interested parties at any phase of the project.

Final drawings Once the design has been fully proven, the firm creates comprehensive construction and shop drawings with final engineering specifications. FTL's in-depth experience with construction firms and specialized fabricators around the world enables it to stand behind these drawings and ensure their accurate execution.

Implementation FTL's project management skills and long experience with both conventional building trades and specialized manufacturers means that it can address complex issues and provide precise, professional communication to keep the project on track. Clients can rest assured that the time and cost-control aspects of their project are firmly in hand.


  • Baltimore Office of Promotion and Tourism
  • Brooklyn Children's Museum
  • Central Park Conservancy
  • City of Des Moines
  • City of Niagara Falls,CA
  • City of Savannah
  • Detroit DOT
  • Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs,Saudi Arabia
  • NASA
  • National Park Service
  • New Jersey Transit
  • New York Aquarium
  • New York Botanical Garden
  • NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Port Authority of NY and NJ
  • Smithsonian Institution,National Design Museum
  • SUNY at Purchase
  • United Nations
  • Times Square Alliance
  • US Army Troop Command
  • USS Arizona


  • BOORA Architects
  • Beyer Blinder Belle
  • Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • Wil Bruder, Architect
  • Santiago Calatrava
  • Cambridge Seven Assoc
  • James Carpenter Design
  • DWL Architects
  • Gruzen Samton Architects
  • H3 Hardy Collaboration
  • HLW International
  • Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates
  • Michael Graves Architects
  • Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • Pei Cobb Freed and Partners
  • Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
  • Perkins Eastman
  • Perkins + Will
  • Polshek Partnership
  • Peter Marino,Architect
  • Rafael Vinoly Architects
  • Richard Meier and Partners
  • Rockwell Group
  • Shigeru Ban Architects
  • SOM Architects


  • ATT
  • Bergdorf Goodman
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Cadillac
  • Calvin Klein Company
  • Donna Karan Corp
  • Dyson
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Honeywell
  • Humana Inc.
  • Issey Mikaye USA
  • L'Oreal
  • Louis Vuitton
  • New York Waterway
  • Parmalat
  • Principal Financial Group
  • Procter and Gamble Co.
  • Six Flags
  • Takashimaya
  • Victoria's Secret


  • EventQuest
  • OBO Global
  • Tom Bowman Productions
  • Jack Morton Worldwide
  • Usual Suspects


  • Arcorp Properties
  • Bovis Lend Lease
  • Boymelgreen Developers
  • Brookfield
  • GICSA, Mexico
  • Gordon Holdings Group
  • Hartz Mountain Industries
  • Higgins Development
  • Jones Lang Lasalle
  • The Related Companies
  • Soho House
  • Solidere Lebanon
  • Sun Valley Company
  • Tishman Realty
  • Turner
  • Two Trees Development
  • Vornado Trust
  • Witkoff


  • Big Apple Circus
  • Capitol Concerts
  • Fuji Television
  • Hanna Barbera Productions
  • Hudson Valley Shakespeare
  • MTV
  • Live Nation
  • Metropolitan Opera
  • NBC Television
  • National Symphony Orchestra
  • New York Philharmonic
  • Pink Floyd
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Red Light Management
  • Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey
  • Running Subway Productions
  • Santa Fe Opera
  • SMG Productions
  • Sun Valley Symphony
  • Walt Disney Imagineering


FTL designed and engineered an embedded photovoltaic tent system as a modular shade and power system for the US Army SSC in Natick, MA. Developed in conjunction with Iowa Thin Film Technologies, the system uses thin film amorphous silicon photovoltaics to produce 5 watts per square foot. The mesh tensile structure provides 50% shade for Army vehicles and shelters. US Patent # D543255S.


FTL designed and engineered the revolutionary Century Tent System which is a three part modular rental system for Anchor Industries. The system comes in multiple sizes including 40', 60', 80, 100' and 120' wide modules. This new design used a highly patterned surface to reduce columns and eliminate internal ropes. The design which was first introduced in the 1980's revolutionized the Tent Rental Industry.


The Advanced Inflatable Airlock (AIA) is a research and development project in support of NASA's Space Launch Inititative. The airlock functions as a temporary pressurized structure to allow astronauts to leave the space vehicle and peform EVAs (extra-vehicular activities, or "spacewalks"). The research involves making the airlock out of many layers of fabric, instead of the heavy aluminum. The airlock is deployable and stows away when not in use. The complex technical challenges to the program include reliable stowage and deployment, development of flexible pressure vessels, working with materials to handle the extreme environmental conditions, and material optimization.  


FTL designed a fabric lighting system for the furniture manufacturer SunarHauserman using a diffuse volumetric light which eliminated veilent reflections and minimized eye strain. The system used three different units: an overhead illumination, a modular plug in panel system and reflctive canopy lighting. Designed in collaboration with Peter Barna, this system was the first use of volumetric fabric lighting in the contract furnishing industry.  
Mesa Wayfinding
Des Moines Ice Rink
Yonkers Porte Cochere
Seaman Corporate Pavilions


Located at the intersection of Scottsdale and McDowell Road, SkySong is a mixed-use project consisting of 1.2 million square feet of office, research and retail space, and a hotel/conference center at full build-out. In addition to the commercial space, SkySong will include multi-family residential units. Anchored by the iconic SkySong shade structure, it is built around a densely landscaped grand boulevard lined by ground-floor shops and restaurants with offices above. SkySong will serve the needs of businesses, research and technology industry and academia while building vital networks between university innovations, regional progress and the global technology industry.

FTL in collaboration with Pei Cobb Freed and Partners designed the sculptural tensile structure as a center piece for the overall development. The PTFE structure of approximately 60,000 square feet opened in 2009 and received design awards from the IFAI and the LSAA. SKYSONG is aLEED certified Silver project.


The Mesa Arts & Entertainment Center is a new performing arts center in Phoenix AZ including three theaters: the Lyric Theater, the Repertory Theater and a Playhouse Theater covering about 7 acres. As part of this, the complex has an Arts Center and retail component. To tie these theaters and art center together visually, BOORA Architects + DWL Architects wanted a series of tensile fabric elements which create sail like connectors from the different buildings. FTL was hired to design two mesh tensile fabric elements for the complex. First FTL designed and engineered two series of overlapping sail elements about 190 long and 27 feet wide made up out of four different tensile structures which appear almost like flying carpets.

FTL also designed and engineered a series of south facing brise-soleils which cover over 5,000 linear feet of facade. These fabric shade elements are twisted to create hyperbolic parabolic shapes to resist the wind loading on the fabric.


This is a project located on a prominent site on the banks of Des Moines river, directly across the street from the City Hall. A multi-purpose structure was required to house programmatic needs for a newly developed ice skating rink.

The client had expressed particular interest in a previous FTL project using cellular polycarbonate but it was decided that it would be implemented in a structurally different fashion, taking better advantage of the inherent mechanical and chemical properties of the material. The two parabolic shapes are supported by a steel frame structure over which the polycarbonate sheets are fastened following a curvature pattern that allows the panels to curve only in one direction. Surfaces have been modeled such that they can be un-rolled flat in order to accomodate panel geometry. This was achieved by using one generator arch and deriving all other arches from it.

Yonkers Porte Cochere

The Porte Cochere is a lattice shell structure clad in an air pressure inflated ETFE foil pillow glazing system. The steel framing utilizes an organizational symmetry of repetitious members and nodes, which can be easily assembled and modified to create the resulting asymmetric form. The structural geometry is derived from a larger toroidal surface, with its primary gesture spanning diagonally over 90’. A secondary system of thin bracing members completes the lattice shell. All assembly components were shop fabricated and erected on site as a kit of parts, allowing for an installation time of less than one month.

The double layer inflated ETFE pillow assembly acts as an active skin with a weight which is 1/50th that of glass. The cladding is arranged in liner strips that reinforces the directionality to the structural pattern. Constant air pressure in the pillows is maintained via a remotely located inflation system which is cycled to minimize energy costs. The EFTE film is printed with a graduated frit pattern to provide shade and accentuate the LED lighting which is located on one side of each pillow section. The lighting gives the Owner a reflected quality with changing color options for a unique nighttime palette.

FTL worked in collaboration with Studio V Architects for the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, NY to develop this Porte Cochere as an addition to their casino and racetrack which would give the arrival at the casino a spectacular theatrical quality.

Seamon Corporate Pavillions

Seaman Fabrics requested FTL to design a series of new pavilions to showcase the Seaman Architectural Fabrics at their headquarters in Wooster Ohio. FTL created an Oculus to highlight an outdoor dining area and a series of three intersecting canopies to allow for outdoor work and contemplation adjacent to the coating and office buildings.

Capitol DC
Cirque du Soleil
Metropolitan Opera
Pier 6
Sun Valley


After twenty years of using the original FTL tensile structure band shell, the producers wanted a larger one. The new 90' X 100' orchestra shell provides almost twice the coverage of the previous shell. It is designed to host the National Memorial Day Concert and the Capitol Fourth Concert on PBS each year. The structure is located between the United States Capitol and the Washington Monument, providing a strong relationship to its surrounding.

The design provides optimum acoustics for the orchestra, while the membrane provides a white canvas for lighting design and video projection.


Rockwell Group Architects invited FTL to design and engineer a tensile membrane enclosure for their new theater for Cirque du Soleil. FTL developed the deisgn for a 20,000 sq ft permanent PTFE coated glass fabric membrane structure which created in one form an entrance, an outdoor waiting area and a faade to the cylindrical theater.

The fabric skin is composed of seven unique fields which vary in scale and dimension to manipulate the interstitial space between the building and outdoors and to provide passive solar shading for the building.


The Carlos Moseley Music Pavilion was a state-of-the-art performance facility designed for the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and The City of New York's Departments of Cultural Affairs and Parks and Recreation. The project was the culmination of many years of intensive development by Nic Goldsmith with Peter Wexler as Project Coordinator and Christopher Jaffe as the acoustical and sound consultant. Completely mobile, six custom semi-trailers carry the entire facility to any open performance site. Designed to be set up in six hours with minimal impact on the fragile park locations. The trailers include a self-contained foundation for the pavilion and operable booms required for deployment of the facility. The Pavilion's pyramidal open truss structure incorporates an acoustic shell, a 40' x 78' folding stage, computerized lighting system, video projection screen and a distributed sound system employing twenty-four wireless remote speaker towers.  


Begun as a temporary performance structure intended to be in place for only five years, the original crab like tensile canopy proved so popular that it was retained for 10 years. In 1994 it was replaced with a larger, more sophisticated building with permanent support facilities that would retain the imagery and feeling of the previous structure.

The new building responds to its surroundings with a structure that is both more formal and more graceful than the original. The new facility seats 3,500 under cover with a further 1,000 in sight of the stage on an external terraced grass area, and incorporates the tensile structure roof with two-tory masonry construction for backstage, administration and toilets. The use of these different materials create.


The Seasonal Sun Valley Music pavilion is located on the south campus of the Sun Valley Resort, inspired by its natural setting and destined to become a community gathering place for performance events. The sky and mountain are captured by the free flowing sensual roof, comprising of a seasonal luminous tensile membrane covering 1,800 seats and a permanent steel cable net with wood covering over stage and support facilities. The surrounding landscape is sculpted into an undulating park gently elevated creating a natural amphitheater, to be able to see Trail Creek Canyon, Dollar Mountain and Baldy while you relax with your picnic basket and enjoy orchestral music. The facility is a technological and structural accomplishment and demonstrates how a permanent and seasonal structures can be integrated to offer the best of both worlds - use of wood for symphonic acoustic blending and a tensile membrane for luminous reflective space. The ambiance shall be once an interior space and an outdoor room drenched in diffused sunlight. The Sun Valley Summer Symphony hosts its season at the facility along with other community music and arts events, each with an intimate relationship to the stage with unobstructed sight lines and excellent sound quality.
SkyScape Millennium
Bronx Zoo
Phoenix Library
Under the Sun
Louis Vuitton Singapore


The New Millennium Experience contracted Edwin Shirley Staging to provide a turnkey cinema adjacent to the Millennium Dome at the Millennium Dome Site in Greenwich, England. FTL was hired to design the building shell based on our experience in relocatable buildings. Since ESS is a truss and staging supplier in the UK, FTL approached the design using large trusses as primary vertical supports (much like a music stage canopy) and large horizontal trusses spanning the 58m width. The trusses suspended a tensile membrane roof made of PTFE glass fabric acting as a parallel wave structure to create a wavy rectangular volume. The exterior walling system was polycarbonate panels similar to the system used on the Millennium Dome itself.

The 'Baby Dome' was completed in the Fall of 1999 in time for the Millennium celebrations and was dismantled in 2001 and its contents were recycled.


The Russell B. Aitken Seabird Aviary at the Bronx Zoo in NYC had been in existence for more than a hundred years, when in the early spring of 1995 the old building collapsed under the weight of a heavy snow fall. The Wildlife Conservation Society selected FTL to design a new aviary based on the existing site with a program design thirty percent larger, more interactive with visitors and more conducive to the requirements of its permanent inhabitants - the birds. In order to maintain historic continuity and existing features,  the old false rock work was incorporated into the new design as were the mature dense trees that surrounded the site. The 30,000-square-ft building is situated within a sinuous, concrete perimeter wall that in parts is submerged below ground and emerges at each end to accommodate cave-like entrances. These design features that maintain the illusion of a completely unrestrained external environment. The achievement of this design requirement has been assisted by the specification of an extremely fine one- millimeter-diameter wire rope which has been woven into a 25-millimeter grid... at a distance this cable net becomes invisible to the visitor. Though the new building is both visually and environmentally transparent, it is able to resist snow loads and wind loads. The net is supported by  steel arches springing forming a diagonal pattern in plan. The net acts in unison with the supporting arches using double-curved shape.


Twenty four 75 foot long vertical shade panels consisting of a polyester/PVC shade cloth descend the north wall of the New Phoenix Central Library which opened in May of this year in Phoenix, Arizona. The shade panels are designed to block direct sunlight in the early mornings of the Summer months.

The open-mesh, warped shade cloth created a 'brise soleil' shading effect on the north wall of the library and gave the building an elegant diaphanous facade through the interplay of the fabric shading and glass curtain wall. The panels used custom machined stainless steel fittings which tied into the glass mullions.



Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum

Excellence in the design of solar-powered systems and products was the focus of an outdoor exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's 'Under the Sun: An Outdoor Exhibition of Light' on view from June through October 1998. As one of the pioneers incorporating photovoltaic technology into their designs, FTL created the first PV embedded tensile structure. Using flexible, thin-film photovoltaics bonded to a translucent fabric, the structure was designed to demonstrate off-grid power capacity for a variety of permanent or temporary applications. In addition, a PV embedded glass pavilion was designed and an interactive solar clock using custom designed furniture.

Shading Skin

Louis Vuitton's new flagship store in Singapore opened in September amidst great fanfare to coincide with the annual Grand Prix. This Crystal Pavilion is part of the Marina Bay Sands complex designed by Moshe Safdie and is Vuitton's first stand alone Island Maison. Being in an equatorial region, the interior architect, Peter Marino requested FTL to develop the design of a shading system that provided shade yet allowed translucency to enter the space. FTL developed an interior modular system where the fabric panels float off lightweight aluminum frames providing a backdrop to the product display and creating a soft filtered light throughout the two floors of glass enclosure. The 25,000 square feet shading system uses two different fabric types, one for the walls and another for the multifaceted ceiling, providing different translucencies as required.
AT & T Global Olympic Village
Harley Davidson
Nike Camp Victory


Atlanta, Georgia

The focal point of Centennial Park and AT&T's Olympic sponsorship during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta was the Global Olympic Pavilion.  Designed as a triad of structures including the Athlete's Pavilion, Media Center and Consumer Pavilion. Built to accommodate Olympic athletes and their families, house television broadcast studios and entertain park visitors throughout the Games, the Pavilion site emerged as the 'living room' and 'walk-in-theater' for the millions of people who came to enjoy the 1996 Summer Games.

With soaring truss arches of tensioned fabric reminiscent of Gothic Cathedrals, the Athlete's and Media Centers were comprised of 90,000 square feet of relocatable architecture featuring state-of-the-art tension structure design, multi-story glass curtain walls, relocatable elevators and a 200 foot wide live video projection screen. Completing the AT&T Pavilion venue, a 60 foot tall cone-shaped exhibition facility, the Consumer Pavilion, was used as a gallery to showcase communications technology to the general public. Each evening, up to 250,000 people occupied Centennial Park to view the live performances of the outdoor stage and the center of the pavilions served as clear site lines to the live video images.



The Voltige tent was designed for a new horse show production to be set up in ten locations in the US and Canada. Voltige reached out to FTL to lead the design process. The challenge was to come up with a fresh look while incorporating the limitations of the gigantic scale that this project demanded and the issues of  quick installation that circus tents are typically designed for. Non-availability of cranes or other heavy equipment together with a set up time of only seven days per venue demanded that the design emerge from an exhaustive study of the installation process. The structure is comprised of four 100 feet tall primary masts, spaced 80 feet apart. The membrane is designed independent of the sidewalls with alternating high and low points. The side walls to not carry any of the main loads, thereby allowing a quick installation of the main skin. Project Team: Tensile Structure Design & Engineering: FTL Design Engineering Studio, New York, NY Tensile Structure Fabrication: Canobbio S.p.a., Italy Photographic Credits: Nicolas Paulette, Voltige, Montreal, Canada.


Dyson time lapse 60 sec from Ashish Soni on Vimeo.

The Dyson Company wanted to showcase their new vacuum cleaner product the DC-15 with EventQuest, NYC. This product uses a revolutionary ball instead of wheels to drive the vacuum cleaner which allows for much sharper turns in the vacuuming process.

Our firm was contacted by Eventquest on behalf of Dyson to design a portable event and exhibit structure. Based on our history with portable buildings, we developed the ball concept as an air supported inflatable structure held down by a steel tetrahedral ring.  The tetrahedral frame created an eight foot double wall service zone which housed electrical distribution, air handling equipment and ballast foundations for the structure.

Entry into the structure began with a lightweight lattice portico which joined onto the tetrahedral frame and opened into a large 85 foot diameter dome shaped space where the exhibit began. The exhibit continued along a curved ramp which ascended a full floor until one reached a spherical geode which contained a small cinema. The cinema showed a 360 degree film about the new product.

By using pneumatic technology, the entire structure was assembled on site at Lincoln Center in three days. The event and subsequent exhibition continued for four days and the structure and exhibit was dismantled in two days. By using double skin fabric walls on the first floor, a clean exterior and interior space was maintained. Generally in portable buildings, the exterior space is filled with the services such as temporary power and HVAC. The water ballast allowed the installation to occur without transport of concrete foundations which are typical for temporary structures.


The 'Machine Tent' is part of a larger traveling exhibition developed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Harley Davidson Motor Company. 'The Machine Tent' is the central and the only custom designed facility amongst various stantard rental tents all of which house various exhibits.

The design of a travelling structure for installation in different countries all over the world involves incorporating the logistics of designing to various building regulations as well as studying availability of equipment and manpower in these regions. A greater challenge was the extremely short and limited delivery time. The total time frame available for design, engineering and fabrication fot this tent was less than 20 weeks.

'The Machine Tent' is circular in plan, 160 ft in diameter. It is comprised of a central mast and six secondary masts, radially organised, that are capped with a trussed arch. This gives the canopy its unique form. To reduce the installation time and manpower, the structure is designed to be self-erecting. This is achieved with trussed compression members with internally mounted motors and winches that hoist themselves as well as the other components. The fabric is divided into six identical fields enabling quick fabrication and installation.

Nike Camp Victory, Summer 2012

To create a new iconic image for the US Olympic Track and Field Trials at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Nike required a series of temporary elements which could transform the field and track grounds. Nike reached out to Skylab Architecture to develop the concept of three fin shaped elements which represent a sense of speed and lightness. Skylab in turn approached FTL Design Engineering Studio long known for its work in deployable architecture to develop the forms into a finely tuned relocatable building system.

The Nike Olympic Trials Pavilions consist of three temporary structures which were developed in four weeks, fabricated in a six weeks and set up in two weeks on site. FTL engineered temporary ballast foundations which were used as the artificial turf on grade could not be touched. A lightweight steel frame was designed where 64translucent fabric panels could be quickly tensioned to create a visual ‘light box’ projecting out on the surrounding track. Lightweight cables braced the frame allowing for pin joints for quick assembly and dismantling.

These types of unique structures act as corporate branding and symbolize the dynamic quality of peripatetic facilities which can set up quickly and move to different sites. It reflects the perfectly the speed of today’s environment where yesterday is gone and tomorrow is always new.

Rosa Parks Bus Station
San Francisco Airport
Staten Island Bus Station
UN Interim Canopy
NYC EDC Citywide Ferries


Midwest Construction's Best of 2009, Project of the year for Transportation FTL created an urban plaza, covered by a sustainable skin to define space, washed with day lighting and harvesting rain water, transcending infrastructure into sculpture. The iconic public space energizes the urban fabric, helping to uplift run-down attitudes and adjacent properties. The new Rosa Parks Transit Center includes a passenger terminal and roof canopy covering a drop off and outdoor waiting area which plays a pivotal role in providing alternate means of public transportation to the greater Detroit area. The project brief was simple: a permanent roof structure, to withstand harsh weathers, durable, easy to maintain, inexpensive and unique. The architect, Parson Brinkerhoff, MI, a pioneer in transportation facilities, invited FTL to be part of their team to develop an ?elegant and contemporary canopy?. FTL developed a design approach that uses flowing canopies to create an active visual space and naturally day light space which challenges the conventional notion of roof where the membrane both hovers 50 ft in space, and in other areas brought to ground and to act as a giant water collector.


FTL assisted James Carpenter Design in developing the design and engineering fabric diffusers as light monitors which bring in natural daylight at the new San Francisco International Airport designed by SOM. Completion was in 2000.


The structure provides a sheltered bus waiting space from where pedestrians can view Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Though the sculptural concept began as a grove of metal and fabric trees, there are obvious visual connections with the bridge.

The 'trunk' of each 'tree' explodes into a helical expanding mesh of stainless steel 'branches' that collect into a rectangular frame at the top. Each tree is counter-balanced by its mirror image which is then repeated along the esplanade to create an avenue.  An illuminated fabric membrane fits within the branches providing an illumination surface.

UN Interim Canopy

The UN Interim Canopy is located on the north lawn of the United Nations campus, in New York City. The Structure sits adjacent to the UN’s new temporary General Assembly building designed by HLW International and acts as an entrance pavilion/security screen for international delegates. The structure was envisioned as permanent, yet is easily relocatable to other sites when the larger UN renovation project is completed.

The design is intended to act as a low profile transition from the main drive to the delegate entry. Drawing its inspiration from the surrounding landscape the canopy is nested within the campus landscape utilizing the contours of site as a visual buffer. Its’ helical arches undulate and twist along the length of the roadway gently peeling away from the main building. The translucent membrane provides natural light during the day and allows the form to glow in the evening. Incorporated into the design are both passive and active cooling systems which allow cars to idle below the canopy.

Construction completed in 2010

NYC EDC Citywide Ferries

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015 announced the launch of a new Citywide Ferry Service. It was planned to launch in two phases: the first phase launched on May 2017, with service along the East River to the Rockaways and to Bay Ridge and Astoria respectively. A second phase, in August 2018, launched to the Lower East Side and Soundview. FTL designed and engineered the canopy structures in collaboration with McLaren Engineering who were the overall project engineers.