The challenge is to develop a design for exterior fabric structures at a resort hotel. The project will concentrate on formulating specific thoughtful concepts and carrying these ideas to a detailed design. The project should be developed with an integrative approach to the use of fabric. Participants will develop a selected physical area of the resort in greater detail with consideration give to the potential environmental affects. 

Projects should be designed in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Additionally, the resort hotel should respond to:

  • Location (suburban, downtown, desert…)
  • Climate (sun, wind, light and water) 
  • Culture (patterns of interaction rising from human occupation of place)

Through plans, sections, elevations, and rendered perspectives, participants should clearly demonstrate the integration of fabric within the overall resort design. Throughout the project, the use of fabric should take advantage of its unique properties and characteristics. 

IMAGE: Kirkwood Community College Hotel. Cedar Rapids, IA. Ruth Fox, OPN Architects 


The general program is outlined below. The program should guide development of a rich sequence of spaces and uses. The building is not to exceed 5 stories. 

Guest Rooms   
100 Guest Rooms @ 400 sqft each 40,000 sqft
Circulation, Linen, Vending & Storage            16,000 sqft 
Subtotal  56,000 sqft 
Public Facilities   
Participants may consider the possibility to join the following spaces, 
allowing for a multi-story, grand space to emerge.

Main Lobby 2,200 sqft 
Seating Area  600 sqft 
Front Desk  600 sqft 
Baggage Storage  200 sqft 
Restrooms  400 sqft 
Retail Shops  1,000 sqft 
Subtotal  5,000 sqft 
Dining / Lounge   
Restaurant   1,300 sqft 
Exterior and/or Interior Dining   1,300 sqft 
Cocktail Lounge  1,000 sqft 
Restroom  400 sqft 
Kitchen, Storage & Offices  1,400 sqft 
Subtotal   5,400 sqft 
Guest Amenities / Recreation Areas    
Spa and Fitness Facilities (protected from environmental effects)   5,000 sqft 
Pool and Deck (protected from environmental effects)  5,000 sqft 
Subtotal   10,000 sqft 
TOTAL   76,400 sqft 

The faculty sponsor and/or student(s) may choose the resort site. The site should be seen as a “destination,” an attractive location for visitors. 

Refer to the International Building Code and the local zoning ordinance for information on parking requirements, height restrictions, set backs, easements, flood, egress, and fire containment. Accessibility guidelines need to be followed; refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Fabric should be considered as a primary material with emphasis placed on innovation in fabric design. Fabric offers a number of strengths in building design including: high performance under certain environmental conditions, flexibility to achieve a variety of forms, sustainability, and a sleek aesthetic. 

Fabric structures are characterized by having a rather small mass relative to the applied load, which is determined through an optimization process. Participants should consider the following type of fabric structures: air-inflated, air-supported, cable net, frame-supported, geodesic dome, grid shell, tensegrity (cable-and-strut) and tensile (or tension) structures. 

Fabric in Architecture Competition Full Program (PDF)