A Rubb Arctic adventure on the move…

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The Rubb structure built on the ice cap in Greenland for the National Science Foundation has taken a sled ride to a different location.

As previously referenced, the Rubb BVR storage facility, known as the Summit Mobile Garage, is a 32’ x 97’ heavily insulated building designed and engineered to be moved or, more aptly, moved by sled from place to place. Due to massive amounts of drifting snow it is easier to tow the building to a new resting spot rather than remove the piles of snow.

In the pictures above, the site crew is shown towing and pivoting the building to its new temporary location. According to Marc Boutet, who spent a month in Greenland as technical advisor: “The guys told me they waited for a warm, balmy day and dragged the building to a spot less likely to get buried with drifting snow… warm and balmy means a few degrees above zero,” Marc added with a chuckle.

Actually the Rubb building was moved about 400 yards and the crew at Summit Station reported no problems with the move. “That’s because we designed and built it right,” concluded Marc.

For more information on this project or on any other high quality Rubb products go to www.rubbusa.com


A Rubb Arctic adventure

“What an experience!” were the first words spoken by long time Rubb USA site supervisor and current salesman Marc Boutet after spending nearly a month overseeing the erection of a Rubb BVR on the polar ice cap.

Rubb USA has completed a 32’ x 97’ BVR structure at Summit Station CH2M Polar Hill Services, in Greenland, for the National Science Foundation.

Located at 72° 36′ N latitude, and at an altitude of 10,600 feet with a mean annual air temperature of -31°, Summit Station has long challenged the physical fitness of its visitors.

In the spirit of “a picture is worth a thousand words” we can reveal a handful of recently taken photos related to the project and provide some interesting insight.


C-130: Shipping and Receiving

The Rubb building was neatly packed and delivered via a USAF C-130 equipped with skis to land on the ice cap. The interior of the plane was ‘tight quarters’ as you can see in the picture below. That is the Rubb building to the left.


Free refrigeration

Food and supplies are stored ‘undersnow’ in a dug out cavern. Due to snowfall the depth of the cavern increases significantly over time to the point where the crew will dig a new ‘refrigerator’. From the photo below you can see the crew moving supplies into the cavern.


Not your average Ritz-Carlton

Sleeping arrangements at Summit Station… room service?


Building under construction:

The work begins…


With building framework complete, the gable end is lifted into position.


The Thermohall PVC ‘sheets’ are pulled/adjusted onto the frame via snowmobile.


The cladding on this building is R-35 rated Thermohall with 8” of high density insulation, after all the temperature can reach -100F! Rubb Thermohall is designed to withstand and perform in the harshest of environments.

Interior of building:


The BVR will be equipped with a generator driven lighting and heating system. The structure will support operations at Summit Station and will primarily serve as an equipment and maintenance shed. The building is set upon a foundation of wood/metal that can be best described as an ‘oversized toboggan’. Thus the structure can be moved periodically to prevent being ‘snowed over’. Rubb innovation at its best!


When asked what was most interesting experience about the Greenland project, Marc smiled and immediately said departing the site on a C-130. “The runway, actually ‘snowway’ is over three miles long and lined mostly with black flags. When you see red flags the plane must stop and turn around and try to take off again in the opposite direction. This is at nearly 11,000 ft. and the snow creates a lot of friction. After three failed attempts to lift off we stopped and the land crew attached portable ‘rockets’ to the plane to help us gain enough speed to gain altitude. I heard a couple of ‘booms’ and up in the air we went! All I could think was… what is going on? Well, I made it!”

More Rubb adventures to follow!

Apprentice builds experience in design and engineering at Rubb

Apprentice Liam Whyatt at Rubb Buildings Ltd

Rubb Buildings Ltd has welcomed our first Technical Apprentice to our Engineering Design Department at Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead.

Liam Whyatt, who attended Heworth Grange School decided that he wanted to pursue a technical apprenticeship rather than go to university after achieving excellent GCSE and AS Level grades.

Liam, who is studying Mechanical Engineering at Tyne Metropolitan College, Wallsend, said: “I really wanted to gain some hands-on experience in the world of work. At Rubb it is really interesting how all the elements of design, manufacturing and construction come together in one place. I am looking forward to working here.”

Rubb Buildings Ltd specialises in the design and manufacture of quality relocatable and permanent engineered fabric structures.

Design Office Manager Dale Robinson (pictured above, left) added: “We are pleased Liam has decided to pursue an apprenticeship route with Rubb. From first-hand experience a ‘work while you learn’ system gives a better practical understanding of the theory taught in universities and colleges. Liam has a keen interest in engineering and will develop the skills and knowledge at Rubb to become a successful engineer and play a key role in the future development of the company.”

Liam (pictured above, right) applied to Tyne North Training Ltd in the summer of 2014, where he completed assessments and the interview process. It became clear to TNT that Liam’s future looked bright in the field of Design Engineering, which in the past has been a profession, which started at university.

TNT began working to secure an Engineering Technical Support apprenticeship placement for the 18-year-old.

TNT Training Officer John Hopper said: “This apprenticeship at Rubb is a great opportunity for a young dynamic apprentice. Rubb’s engineers design, plan and manufacture innovative and efficient semi-permanent buildings for a variety of applications.

“Liam will be involved from the start of a project to ensure that he learns all about and contributes to Rubb coming up with the best custom design for their clients. This is an exciting role for any young apprentice who wishes to become a professional engineer.”

BIG meeting sets the agenda for Research and Development at Rubb


The Rubb Group’s Buildings Innovation Group (BIG) came together on September 4th, 2014, to discuss new innovations in the fabric building industry. Rune Vamråk (Group CEO), Dale Robinson (Structural Engineer, Rubb UK), Jamie Bshara (Operations Manager, Rubb USA), Ole Martin Råen (Fabric Production General Manager, Norway), Bjorn Øyvind Råen (Cad Engineer/Project Manager, Norway), Øyvind Sjølie Karlsen (Design Manager, Strukturas) and Gregor Urban (Design Engineer, Norway), gathered to discuss the latest hot topics at Rubb UK’s HQ in Gateshead. Dale Robinson reports from behind the scenes for the Rubb Blog…

The Buildings Innovation Group (BIG) is the latest development in Rubb’s continued drive to deliver the most innovative products to the market and continue to stay ahead of our competitors. The main aim of the BIG is to secure long term focused research and development with regard to products and services, whilst seeking continuous improvements throughout the business.

It was agreed the first BIG meeting would be held at Rubb UK and we welcomed attendees from the Rubb Group’s USA and Norwegian Operating Companies. The attendees, some experienced employees and some fairly new faces to the Rubb team, brought a wealth of knowledge and freshness to the meeting.

There was plenty to talk about, and while waiting for the meeting to make an official start it was no surprise to find the discussion turned to England’s victory over Norway in the football the night before! The meeting was chaired by Rubb’s CEO, Rune Vamråk, who had the initial vision of bringing all of Rubb’s technical expertise together. The meeting started with Rune giving a brief explanation of the focus of the group, which followed with introductions, including everyone’s role and experience within the company. We then took it in turn to discuss items that each OpCo wanted to place on the agenda for further research and development. Then recent projects each Rubb branch had been working on came under the spotlight. It was good to gain an understanding of how each of the companies valued different areas for research and development.

Following a short break we concentrated on Norway’s list of priorities. Norway experiences high snow loads, so it was no surprise this was a major subject, but you would be surprised how much discussion you can have about snow! Without going into too much detail about exactly what was discussed (we don’t want to give away all our secrets), we also covered some of Norway’s additional areas of focus. We then took the opportunity to show our visitors around the UK plant, discussing the process of fabric and steel production.

Following lunch, a short presentation demonstrated how the UK structurally analyse buildings. This was followed with in-depth discussions regarding the UK’s and USA’s list of potential R&D. To bring the meeting to a close we all reflected on the day, talking about what we each found most useful and what we could take away from the meeting. Everyone declared the meeting a success. It was great to share ideas around the table and gain greater knowledge of how each company is operating.

The meeting ended and unfortunately some of our guests were heading home that evening. The remaining guests explored some of the historic landmarks of Durham City, located near our Gateshead office. We took a brief tour around Durham Market Place, home to St Nicholas’s church and Neptune’s statue. We then proceeded up the old cobbled Saddler Street, which leads to the grounds of the Cathedral and Castle. We were able to get access inside the Cathedral to view some of the magnificent architecture. Everyone appreciated the wonderful scenery inside and out, which was enhanced by the imminent sunset. We finally brought the day to close with a meal and some sociable drinks at a local restaurant.

We are beginning to see the potential of the BIG, with plans already in motion and some actioned. The communication between the group has increased and it’s good to finally put some name to faces. There is no doubt the meetings will benefit the company and our customers. There is certainly plenty of R&D to progress in the near future so watch this space!

Upcoming Trade Shows for 2014

We are pleased to announce our calendar of trade shows for the remainder of 2014! Stop by our booths to take a look at PVC samples and brochures, sign up for our newsletter, and speak to some of our sales team members about how fabric buildings can fit your needs. And before visiting Rubb Building Systems make sure to add us on our social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin – #excellenceinengineering

breakbulk_americas_2012_bulkinsideBreakbulk Americas 2014 is the largest exhibition & educational forum in the Americas addressing the needs of traditional breakbulk and project cargo logistics professionals. Breakbulk Americas’ targeted programming will ensure that you develop skills and strategy to help you do your job more effectively. The exhibition will be held on September 29th to October 2nd at the George R. Brown Convention Center (Exhibit Hall E) in Houston, Texas. Rubb Building Systems will be set up in booth 518, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan, a link to the Breakbulk Americas 2014 Mobile App, and daily updates from our booth during the show.

Entete_ENXplor 2014, an event organized by the Association of Exploration and Mining Quebec (AEMQ), is a convention that brings together investors, prospectors, geologists, and service providers who contribute to the development of Quebec’s mining industry. In addition to the trade show, this event offers a program of high-level learning, a conference dinner with renowned speakers, and several social activities promoting business networking. The event will be held on October 22nd to the 23rd at Place Bonaventure in Downtown Montreal, Quebec, CANADA. Rubb Building Systems, along with our partners Aztec Group, will be in booth 504, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan and daily updates from our booth during the show.

canadian_waste_and_recycling_expo_2013The Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo is the premier event in Canada for waste and recycling professionals representing a variety of different sectors, including waste collection, hauling, disposal, storage, and much more. This expo also includes a host of networking events and is co-located with the Canadian Waste to Resource Conference which offers and excellent educational form on the latest innovative developments within the industry. The event will be held on November 19th to the 20th at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA. Rubb Building Systems, along with our partners Aztec Group, will be in booth 1410, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan, a link to the Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo Mobile App, and daily updates from our booth during the show.

PGIThroughout the years, POWER-GEN International has covered it all, providing a world stage for the innovations, ideas and solutions that have formed our industry for more than two decades.  POWER-GEN International is the industry’s premier platform for numerous new product launches and unveilings—a showcase for products and services such as boilers, turbines, engines, boiler water and feedwater treatment services, computer hardware and software, controls and instrumentation systems, engineering and construction services, generators, plant electrical systems, pumps, valves and valve actuators, and more. The event will be held on December 9th to the 11th at the Orange County Convention Center (West Halls) in Orlando, Florida. Rubb Building Systems will be set up in booth 830, and don’t forget to RSVP on our event page for a copy of the official floor plan and daily updates from our booth during the show.

Maine Innovators of Tension Fabric Structures

fabric innovationWhat do machine guns, toothpicks, and earmuffs all have in common? Seemingly nothing at first, however if you did a little digging you would find that all of these products were developed right here in Maine. And although this state has seen countless other paramount inventions, none comes close to the ingenious works of Charles William Moss and his Pop Tent which inspired and changed the world of fabric structures as we know them today.

Bill Moss was born in 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. Because of his creative nature, he chose to study art at the University of Michigan, the Layton School of Art, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art before getting a job as an artist  and illustrator for the Ford Times in 1949. A few years later in 1955, while still working for Ford, Bill Moss finished the design for his first Pop Tent model, forever altering peoples perception of camping and jumping into a future of fabric structures as a widely accepted industry. Throughout the following twenty years Moss would continue to improve his tent models, and even open his own design firm in Michigan, before moving to Maine with his wife at the time, Marylin, to found Moss Tent Works in 1975 as a retail manufacturing company. Although Moss retired from the company in 1983, leaving it in the hands of, by then ex-wife, Marylin, during his time in Maine he met and touched the lives of many, spreading his wisdom and guiding those who also wanted to dabble in the magnificence of fabric structures. Whether as a personal mentor or in spirit, his reputation brought visionaries from across Maine to the doorsteps of Moss Tent Works. One of these architectural pilgrims was Charles Duvall, who was hired at Moss Tent Works in 1984 and has been working with tensioned fabric ever since.

Charles DuvallBeginning as a camping tent designer at Moss Tent Works, Duvall was strongly influenced by plants and naturally resilient vegetation. His inspiration came from the idea that flowers, vines, weeds, and branches were all seemingly lightweight and delicate, yet strong and durable. This contradiction led Duvall to create some of the most exotic tent designs of his time, making them a world recognized commodity for their integrity, dependability, and charm. Duvall left Moss Tent Works in 1994 in order to start his own company, and in 1995 Duvall Designs was founded in Rockland, Maine. Moving in a more creative direction, Duvall Designs steps away from camping tents and focuses mainly on creative fabrications for architectural installations and exhibit spaces. His works can be seen in locations across the United States.

Cindy ThompsonAnother one of Moss’ most prominent disciples was Cindy Thompson, founder and president of Transformit, a company based out of Gorham, Maine that produces tensioned fabric sculptures. Thompson met Moss by the way of fate when he stumbled across her art at a gallery in Maine. Sharing an adoration for fabric elements in their creative work, Moss helped Thompson further her career by recommending her to Arizona State University, and upon her return to Maine in 1985, the two shared a studio together. Eventually they parted ways, and Transformit was founded in 1988. Since then the company has produced a number of prestigious exhibits, and even collaborated with Duvall Designs on a few projects.

Moss eventually moved to Arizona where he found luxury as a painter before his death in 1994 at the age of 72. But Bill Moss leaves behind an intangible legacy and tradition of fabric structures that is carried on by those who cherished and respected him. Companies like Moss Tent Works (eventually traded to REI and renamed Moss, Inc.), Duvall Designs, Transformit, and us here at Rubb, Inc. owe our thanks and appreciation to the ingenuity of the man known as the father of tension fabric – Charles William Moss.

Art or Architecture: From Stone to Fabric

Göbekli TepeAs we progress further into the 21st century, so does the structure of our society; quite literally in fact. The demand for unique, creative, and contemporary buildings is more prevalent now than ever before, and that begs the question; is it art or is it architecture?

Architecture is one of the oldest professions known to man. From the Neolithic period came Göbekli Tepe, also known as the World’s first temple, which is a formation of stacked stones that dates back almost twelve thousand years. From Ancient Mesopotamia came ziggurats, giant monoliths that incorporated a long staircase leading to a terraced roof. From the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids of Giza, to the Persian Persepolis, to India’s Taj Mahal, architecture is a prominent and historic part of every culture. And although we classify them as aesthetically pleasing relics now, they were initially built with practicality in mind, rather than style.

Although artistic architecture has become widely accepted as hip and exclusive in today’s day and age, so much that the two almost seem to be synonymous, that was not necessarily the case in the early 20th century. Expressionist Architecture was seen as a protest movement surrounding the activities of World War I with the intention of opening the doors to a futuristic and Utopian society. Many of these Expressionists came from the central European avant guarde, and pioneered the use of new building materials such as steel, concrete, glass, and fabric, as well as experimented with distortion of space and curvature in their designs to reflect the emotion and mood of that period. Some examples include the Grundtvig’s Church in Copenhagen, Denmark completed in 1940, the famously known Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia completed in 1973, and Frei Otto’s fabric tension coverings on the Tuwaiq Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia completed in 1985.

Since the turn of the century, almost anything goes when considering a design, and that includes the adoption of fabric structures like Otto’s. Within the boundaries of construction codes, buildings can be as big or as strange as your heart desires, further Home Within Homeblurring the line between art and architecture. Take, for example, artist Do Ho Suh’s exhibit at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, South Korea titled Home within Home within Home within Home within Home. This whimsical masterpiece is made up of a thin wire frame that is tightly and delicately wrapped in deep blue silk fabric, and replicates Suh’s different residencies: one of his childhood home in Korea and the other of his first apartment in the United States. Another example of artistic architecture, or architectural art, is Peter Steinhauer’s photographic series titled Cocoons 1 and Cocoons 2. These vibrantly colorful and intricate pictures capture bamboo framework covered in dyed silk fabric that envelops buildings under construction in Hong Kong, China, and are a true testament to the symbiotic relationship of art and architecture.

UCLAEven here at Rubb, Inc., we consider both functionality and presentation when designing our fabric buildings. One of our most noted structures was a temporary facility to house the Powell Library at the University of California, Los Angeles, which was featured on the cover of Architectural Record Magazine in March 1993. And over twenty years later, we are still committed to the same ideals in regards to art in architecture. Designed to inspire – Engineered to impress.