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Space-age roofing for the future of Houston
POST Houston reaches a major milestone with the installation of its pressurized ETFE roofs fabricated by Novum Structures.
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This October, POST Houston began installation of the ETFE skylight systems spanning its cavernous atriums. The roofs are transparent plastic air-filled pillows spanning the large atriums excavated from the post office structure. Originally developed in the 1950’s by NASA engineers working on space suit design, these next generation plastics were prized for their durability, strength, flexibility and fire-retardant properties. The properties that made these new plastics ideal for space exploration also appealed to architects studying how to efficiently cover large buildings where the use of glass would be economically and structurally prohibitive. Conventionally used in stadiums and other large public buildings like airports, ETFE roofing has substantial performance and energy efficiency advantages over conventional glass roofs. At just 1% the weight of glass, these membrane structures require substantially less structural steel (which decreases its carbon footprint) while providing superior daylight penetration and comparable thermal insulation to triple glazed glass. POST is the first commercial building in Texas to make widespread use of the plastics that once originated in a NASA lab. Covering over 20,000 square feet and spanning over 100 feet in some instances, the roofs provide daylighting that make the interiors of the building feel like the outdoors. The resultant indoor-outdoor qualities offer guests an entirely new way of dining, shopping, and working in Houston. For more information from NASA about PTFE and ETFE click here.
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