Since the beginning, Fabritecture has evolved from canvas covers to contemporary fabric building solutions. Charlie Ballantyne, the creator of Universal Fabric Structures (now Fabritecture), has revolutionised the way the world thinks about tensile fabric structures.
Charlie dreamt of a bold new skyline, shaped not by old thinking and inflexible forms, but by futuristic fabrics and audacious imagining. Going into partnership with a ground-breaking structured solutions company from Belgium, the duo invented the world’s first Tensile Fabric Structure (TFS). With Charlie taking North America under the UFS brand, and leaving the European market to his new Belgium business partner, the concept of pre-engineered, rent-or-buy fabric structure solutions took both continents by storm. By the mid 1990’s, Charlie Ballantyne’s vision had transformed into one of the fastest growing top 500 companies in America.
At the peak of the company’s growth in the mid 90’s, ex-pat Australian David Gullis found himself working for Charlie. David’s intuitive understanding of tensile fabric structures and his innate mastery of project management soon became obvious to his American mentor. In less than two years, David was promoted from Site Worker to Project Manager, then to Construction Manager responsible for all UFS North America operations.
After returning to Australia for a short break, David and his family decided to stay ‘home’ to raise their young children. He also discovered a potentially untapped new market for UFS, to which Charlie agreed, and the UFS Australasian office was born in the Central Coast, NSW. Almost overnight the new company was winning blue-chip projects such as the arena for the 2000 Gift and Homewares Trade Show, (one of the largest trade fairs in Australia), building the ultimate hangar to house the C130 Hercules fleet at the RAAF base at Richmond, and construction of the Big Top at Sydney’s Luna Park.
It was while working on Richmond and Luna Park that David met the passionate project manager, 3D draftsman and serious lunchtime surfer Jethro Jones, who soon became a fellow UFS Director, and future Fabritecture partner. Like David himself, Jethro Jones had joined the construction business from the ground up and rapidly worked his way into Senior Project Management positions in local and international companies. Jethro brought with him a highly-polished passion for 3D imaging and design – an increasingly valuable skill in the Australasian market where custom-architectural fabric structures were in growing demand.
Meanwhile, back in America, Charlie had been enticed to sell all but the rental division of his UFS operations to his European partner. As a result, UFS Pty Ltd was dissolved, Charlie became Allsite Structure Rentals and David and Jethro were offered the opportunity to take over UFS Australasia. The rest, as they say, is history. Pooling their project management and design strengths, the new Directors found themselves uniquely-positioned to offer far more than just pre-engineered and rental solutions – they were able to deliver entire ‘concept-to-completion’ custom-architectural structures that redefined the possibilities of the past.
The phenomenal growth of UFS Australasia through the first decade of the New Millennium – and the exciting evolution of its architectural arm – inspired David and Jethro to reconnect with their visionary American mentor, Charlie and re-assess the structure of their company. The result was the birth of Fabritecture as a specialist, custom-architectural brand that held the capacity to sell pre-engineered structures (Global Fabric Structures products), and rent out temporary fabric structures (via Allsite Structure Rentals).
Today, Fabritecture boasts over 70 years worth of international experience in every aspect of tensile fabric structure technology. Fabritecture is now an Australian market leader in pre-engineered structures, and is consistently among the most highly awarded custom architectural companies in the world.