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General information

  • Location address
  • Location country
  • Year of construction
  • Name of the client/building owner
    Comune di Trento
  • Function of building
  • Degree of enclosure
    Fully enclosed structure
  • Climatic zone
    Mediterranean - mild winters, dry hot summers
  • Number of layers
  • Type of application of the membrane
  • Primary function of the tensile structure
    • Rain protection


Trento Aperta is a summer festival organized by the municipality of Trento (Italy) with touristic events focused on food, cinema, arts, sport, music, theatre, nature and literature.
The Lanterna Clouds Pavilions 2021 is an example of how membrane structures are a potential answer to challenging requirements which include a distinctive architectural appeal, reduced installation time and costs, optimized weight of the components, reduced packaging volumes and environmental impact of the structure.
A set of five pneumatic shelter were designed to host some of the activities organized in summer 2021 in the city of Trento.

The design concept has been developed by Monica Armani in collaboration with Maco Technology and the University of Nottingham. The pavilion is based on a timber floor slab designed to support the external circular timber walls and the rigid aluminium frame of the pneumatic membrane roof. The overall project includes a total of five pneumatic roofs, one installed as a single pavilion, and four grouped in pairs on a double timber floor slab. The pavilions are arranged in Cesare Battisti square and provide protection from the weather.

The horizontal membrane roof of the pavilion is made of a double-layer pneumatic mattress with twenty-four vertical webs arranged in a radial direction to reduce the thickness of the pneumatic cushion and to provide the housing of the loadbearing aluminium frame.

The membrane roof is designed for a maximum wind load of +0.171 kN/m2 (uplift) and -0.089 kN/m2 (downward) and requires a loadbearing aluminium frame to transfer the applied load to the timber basement. The aluminium structure is made of one central tubular column (Ø 400mm, 2mm thick), twelve radial tubular beams (Ø 60mm, 5mm thick) and twelve vertical tubular columns (25mm, 2mm thick) integrated into the timber vertical panels.
The inflatable mattress is made of PVC-coated polyester fabrics with an opaque silver coating (upper layer) and a clear PVC foil reinforced with a polyester mesh (lower layer and vertical webs) and includes radial pockets for the installation of the aluminium structure. The inflated geometry of the mattress provides the required slope for the water drainage towards the central column of the pavilion

Description of the environmental conditions

Material of the cover

  • Cable-net/Fabric/Hybrid/Foil
  • Material Fabric/Foil
    PVC - coated polyester fabric

Main dimensions and form

  • Covered surface (m2)

Duration of use

  • Temporary or permanent structure
  • Convertible or mobile

Involved companies