The wind speed design in tensile membrane structure 33 m/s (approximately 74 mph) as a reference point is a common starting point, but it has limitations

The 33 m/s (approximately 74 mph) reference point is a common starting point, but it has limitations for various tensile membrane structure scenarios you’ve mentioned:

High Wind Events and Locations:

  • Typhoons, Cyclones, Hurricanes: These storms generate extreme wind speeds that can significantly exceed 33 m/s. The design wind speed should be based on historical data for these events in your specific region.
  • Desert Storms: While not as common as hurricanes, strong desert winds can also pose a challenge. Local data on wind speeds and dust storms is necessary for design considerations.
  • Sea and Coastal Areas: Open water fetch allows winds to accelerate over a greater distance, leading to higher wind speeds near the coast. The 33 m/s reference might need to be adjusted for coastal projects.

Terrain and Topographical Effects:

  • Hills and Mountains: Hilltops and mountainous regions can experience higher wind speeds due to wind channeling effects. The specific location and surrounding topography need to be considered.

Structural Considerations:

  • High Wing Area Structures: As previously mentioned, large, high-profile structures act like sails and experience significantly higher wind forces. The design wind speed needs to reflect this.
  • High-Rise Buildings: Tall buildings with tensile membrane components require a wind load analysis that considers the overall structure’s interaction with wind.

Engineering Analysis is Key:

A site-specific wind load analysis by a qualified structural engineer is crucial for all these scenarios. This analysis incorporates:

  • Local Wind Data: Historical wind data for the specific location is essential.
  • Topography: The surrounding terrain features (hills, mountains) need to be factored in.
  • Structure’s Geometry: The size, shape, and orientation of the tensile membrane structure significantly affect wind loads.
  • Building Codes: Local building codes might specify minimum design wind speeds that supersede the 33 m/s reference point.

Safety Factors:

The design wind speed is just one aspect. The engineer will apply a safety factor to account for potential variations in wind forces and ensure the structure can withstand higher loads than the design wind speed.


The 33 m/s reference point is a starting point for initial design considerations. It’s not a substitute for a comprehensive site-specific analysis, especially for high-risk scenarios or complex structures. Always prioritize consulting a qualified structural engineer for your specific project to ensure a safe and reliable tensile membrane structure.