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Lightweight fabric structures were built as early as in the nomadic era with desert tents being an example still used today. Their ability to be assembled rapidly, and to be moved if required, was a vital necessity at that time. The appreciation of the easy construction led not only to the popularity of tents at that time but also to our use of similar structures today.
The beginning of the membrane construction
Modern membrane structures are based on the ideas and designs of Frei Otto and have their origins in the the middle of the 20th century. With the unveiling of the German pavilion at the Expo ‘67 in Montreal, the first prototype was presented to the public. An early commercial application of this nascent technology was the 1972 Olympic Athletics Stadium in Munich under the supervision of architect Günter Behnisch. It is now classified as a historic monument and still continues to impress with its lightness and elegance.
Predecessor companies and Hightex
The roots of today’s Hightex can be traced back to several predecessor companies, First mentioned KOIT which was founded by Herbert Koch, the father of Klaus-Michael Koch. The early involvement of the Koch family in the development of the first membrane structures such as the Munich Olympic Park, has ever since the base of the later success to Klaus-Michael Koch and his team of membrane construction experts at Hightex and all predecessor companies:
Overview: Hightex and predecessors
|Founding Year||Company name||Managing Director|
|1948||KOITWerk Herbert Koch||Herbert Koch|
|1974 (changeover)||Koch Konstruktive Membranen GmbH & Co KG||Herbert Koch Hans-Jürgen Koch, Klaus-Michael Koch|
|1989||Koit Hightex GmbH||Herbert Koch, Hans-Jürgen Koch, Klaus-Michael Koch|
|1995 (changeover)||Koch Hightex GmbH||Hans-Jürgen Koch, Klaus-Michael Koch|
|1999||Koch Membrane Structures GmbH||Klaus-Michael Koch|
|2000 (changeover)||Skyspan GmbH||Klaus-Michael Koch|
|2001||B & O Hightex GmbH||Klaus-Michael Koch|
|2005 (changeover)||Hightex GmbH||Klaus-Michael Koch (until 2008)|
|Frank Molter (2008 – 2015)|
|Klaus-Michael Koch (until March 2019), Olga Hofer; board member: Elena Baturina, Klaus-Michael Koch, Andrey Stolyarov|
|Andrey Stolyarov (since April 2019), Olga Hofer; board member: Elena Baturina, Klaus-Michael Koch, Vladimir Egorychev|
|Andrey Stolyarov, Olga Hofer (since October 2019)|
Many innovations, improvements, and developments have occurred over the intervening years. Including in particular the construction of buildings exploiting the great potential of lightweight, polymer membrane materials. This has led eventually to the use of fully transparent film materials, and the development of crucial know-how via the execution of innovative projects. In addition, the increased availability of low cost computing power has made possible the rapid analysis and calculation of structural stresses in a wide variety of designs. This has also been accompanied by material developments, and material optimization, resulting in flexible composites, such as polymer/glass-fibre, being widely available to the construction industry. Hightex considerable experience in this field of activity and its project-portfolio now includes many projects completed.