Fabric Structures Association (FSA) is pleased to announce a fabric in architecture student design challenge for the 2019-2020 academic year. The program is intended to challenge students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of fabric in design. Fabric should be used as a primary material with special emphasis placed on innovation in design. Fabric offers students great benefits in this project, as it is ideal for use outside, inside, and on exterior surfaces without sacrificing flexibility, aesthetic lightness, and protection from the environment.

The challenge is to develop a design for fabric structures on a university campus. Mentorship and educational resources will be available to students participating in the challenge.

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.

For examples of fabric structures click here.


  1. Use textiles as a major component
  2. Design a fabric structure measuring 38-200 sq. meters (409-2,153 sq. feet) to provide shelter and architectural interest for an area on a campus.

What to submit:

Project description including:
  • Written product/design specifications
  • How the project achieves its purpose
  • Why the product/space was designed
  • Evidence showing that this is an original design
  • Anything unique or complex about the project which may not be evident in the photographs or specifications
  • References or materials cited
  • What attributes or advantages did fabric provide that other options couldn’t/didn’t
  • What makes fabric a preferred choice over materials.
Digital images
  • 4-8 digital images of the project, including design illustrations.
  • Image resolution must be no less than 300 dpi.
  • At least one of the images must be an overall view of the project.  Additional images should show significant details or angles of the project.
  • Images and documents should be submitted for Window Platform in .doc(English), .jpg, .bmp, .tiff, .ppt or.pdf.
1st place
  • $500 cash prize to student or $1,500 to team of three or more students
  • Presentation of project at IFAI Expo events
    For up to three team members:
  • Complimentary registration to IFAI Expo
  • Complimentary travel expenses up to $500 per student to attend IFAI Expo
  • $400 applied to travel and hotel costs for academic advisor or college instructor to attend IFAI Expo
  • Project featured in ATA and division publications and on websites
The deadline for the 2020 Student Design Competition is May 15, 2020



Please contact Martha Baker at 651 225 6932 or msbaker@ifai.com.