Airwise Structures for Equestrian Facilties

It is rare that you see Air Supported Structures used for horses or any other animals. The reason for this is that all the other manufacturers employ modifications of first generation Air Dome technology, originally developed by the and for the military, in the late ’50s & early ’60s.

Early military applications were for DEW (Defense Early Warning) Line applications, protecting remote radar applications in the arctic. These Domes were placed over fragile electronic equipment, pressured up to withstand 200 mph winds, and left unmanned for months at a time. They were not designed for people, animals or even plants.
High Pressure was retained within a thick, opaque skin. This pressure is enough to provide discomfort to people or animals, similar to that felt when you dive too deep without allowing your ears to adjust.

Very little light could pass through the cover, and ventilation was kept at a minimum to minimize the loss of pressure. They were very effective but did not provide a comfortable atmosphere.

Airwise Structures are different. We enclose a piece of the outdoors with ~1/10 of the pressure in most other Air Supported Structures. Because we transfer almost all the load to cables, we are able to use much lighter fabric in our covers. Even with a second, insulating layer of fabric, our covers allow up to 80% of the natural light into the building, providing a bright, airy environment for plants and animals. Our two layer cover typically weighs about 1/3 of the single layer cover from other manufacturers.

Equestrian Arena

The rendering above shows some of the many features that an Airwise Structure provides.

Most Air Supported Structures require complicated airlocks that make moving horses, feed or equipment in and out of the building difficult. Our Low Pressure Cable Structures do not.

Fans are low pressure, high volume fans with noise suppression; most animals quickly become familiar and acclimatized to the sound of the fans without being alarmed.

The cover is manufactured using two layers of almost clear or lightly colored polyethylene material. No artificial lighting is required during the day and night lighting can be supplied from the outside, focusing lights on the cover from ground or pole mounted fixtures around the perimeter of the Dome.
night with lights

This picture and the one below are of the same Airwise Structure. Note that the light passes through the cover on both sides of the Dome, lighting up the cover and inside of the Structure, not the atmosphere around it.
night with lights 2a

Airwise Structures take full advantage of passive solar gain, not only for lighting but for heat as well. Sunlight passes through the cover, heating the ground and anything else inside the Dome. This heat sink helps maintain comfortable temperatures when the sun goes down. Artificial heat can be added, but even without it, temperatures will rarely get below freezing inside a medium sized Airwise.

Animals and plants require adequate ventilation. Most Air Supported Structures can only provide this at significant additional cost. Airwise technology is designed to move massive amounts of air; we can exchange the air in the lower 10′ of the Dome as often as 6 times per hour.

Except in very hot environments, it is rarely necessary to provide air conditioning in an Airwise. We are able to exchange the air often enough so the temperature inside will be the same as outside. Warm air feels cooler when it is moving. If additional cooling is required, misters or evaporating cooling systems can reduce the temperature by 10 – 15 degrees F.

Size and Design

Because they are available, hockey arenas are often used for indoor rodeos, gymkhana & jumping exhibitions. A standard ice surface is 85′ wide x 200′ long. We can provide almost any size of building. The same mechanical system required for a Equestrian Dome this size will support one twice the size, so going a little larger to provide room for bleachers, spectators and concessions does not cost a great deal more.

The sides of an Airwise are sloped at a 2 – 1 rise over run. That means that 4′ inside the perimeter of the Dome, the cover is 8′ from the ground.

The ends of the Dome are curved as shown in the pictures, providing an aerodynamic shape to handle high winds; all our Domes are designed to withstand sustained winds to 80 mph (125 kph).

A Dome120′ wide x 240′ long will provide a useful area of ~24,000 sq. ft and can be installed in one or two days. No special foundation is required; we use mechanical anchors to hold the Dome down, rather than holding a building up.

An Airwise Structure can be installed on an open field of grass, attached to or even over an existing building. It can be designed to fit almost any shape or size of space you have available.

An Airwise Structure can be used year round or seasonally. It can be a temporary or permanent installation so is ideal for owned or leased property. It can be taken down in a day and re-installed at a new location in a day or two.

Everyone wants to know what such a building will cost. That will depend a great deal on the options chosen and what is required for the specific site. We are reluctant to throw out wild numbers without more information. That being said, a Dome between 15,000 and 40,000 sq. ft. will usually cost between $20.00 and $15.00 per sq. ft. and perhaps less. (larger is less expensive because the same doors, fans, etc. are required for both).