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Eco-Tent for the Everglades

Features, Industry News, Project Briefs | April 1, 2013 | By:

TUUCI and the University of Miami combine expertise to build prototype structure for national park.

Miami-based shade structure fabricator TUUCI Inc. has partnered with the University of Miami School of Architecture to design and build a prototype “Eco-Tent” for the Florida Everglades National Park.

The project is a result of an initiative by the U.S. National Park Service to explore ways to provide overnight accommodations in the Everglades after hurricanes Wilma and Katrina devastated a park motel and rental cabins. The Park Service envisioned a structure that was compact, portable and easy to assemble, incorporating a design and materials in harmony with the park.

TUUCI engineers combined CAD-based designs with their engineering expertise to design and fabricate the fabric cantilevered top of the Eco-Tent, which allows breezes to flow through the structure while providing light from the use of translucent materials. University of Miami professors and students worked hand in hand with TUUCI engineers on many aspects of the design and construction on-site.

“TUUCI brought their knowledge and skill to bear at a critical time in the project,” says Dr. Rocco Ceo, University of Miami (UM) School of Architecture professor and founder of the Design/Build program at UM. “Students had an idea about the form and a rudimentary idea of its detail, but TUUCI brought the idea to fruition.”


The 200-square-foot structure features a tensile fabric canopy specifically tensioned to reduce wear and tear from gale force breezes and shed water. The canopy is a heavy-duty yet translucent, solution-dyed fabric and includes side screens that keep out mosquitoes while allowing an additional source of air.

“It is most impressive to view the tent during the evening hours while illuminated inside,” says TUUCI CEO/founder Dougan Clarke. “It has a warm amber glow which appears quite welcoming from the outside.”

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