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Home -- Blogs -- Army Surplus Tents Recreates Classics in Industrial Building Renovations

Army Surplus Tents Recreates Classics in Industrial Building Renovations


Expert in advanced structural engineering, Chris has transformed the safety standards of large tent designs with his groundbreaking research.

Updated: May 16, 2024
Published: February 14, 2024

Innovative Uses of Army Surplus Tents in Industrial Renovations | Shelter Structures


The history of army surplus tents dates back decades, when they were mainly used in military operations to provide temporary housing and command posts for soldiers. These tents have endured a variety of extreme environments, from the heat of the desert to the cold of the snow, and have withstood the test. They are not only a safe haven for soldiers on the battlefield, but also a place for strategy meetings and rest. Today, many army surplus tents have withdrawn from service over time, but their use value has not disappeared.

With the rise of renovation projects of old industrial buildings, after the expiration of army surplus tents, it has been transformed into an industrial design exhibition hall and media release center, which can meet the exhibition of innovative industrial products, small art exhibitions, seasonal industrial new product release events, and art lecture salons.

Characteristics of army surplus tents

1/ The design essence of army surplus tents

Army surplus tents are designed for utility and durability. They are usually made of high-strength canvas or nylon with good water and wind resistance. These tents are simple but sturdy, easy to set up and disassemble quickly, making them ideal for emergencies. In addition, their colors are usually camouflage or earth tones to suit the needs of concealment during military operations.

2/ Reuse potential of army surplus tents

The durability of army surplus tents allows it to remain in good condition to withstand long periods of use even years after it has been retired from military use. The simple design and spacious space provide great flexibility for the subsequent use of the tent, which can be modified according to different needs. Due to their historical setting and uniqueness, these tents are an appealing visual element in their own right, adding to the historical atmosphere and storytelling of the site.

alaska tent military, army surplus tents
Military Tents, army surplus tents

Trends and demands of industrial building renovation

In recent years, the renovation of industrial buildings has become a hot trend in the market. These historic buildings, once witnesses to the industrial age, are now being given a new lease of life. With the increased emphasis on historical and cultural heritage, it has become popular to transform these industrial sites into places with innovative Spaces and multi-functional uses. These renovation projects pay attention not only to the historical value of the buildings, but also to their practical and aesthetic value in modern urban life.

In the transformation of industrial buildings, the design of innovative space is the key. These Spaces need to be flexible and able to accommodate the needs of a variety of activities and functions. Military storage was originally a place to store things, but in the transformed space, it is also a place to display "things", which also highlights the most authentic attribute of industrial products - that is, their properties as "things". 

The value of "things" lies in creation, in the state of mind and hand unity to give the object soul, give it additional value. This is similar to the state of this space that we have created, and the construction of "new warehouse" is also a process of exploiting the original value of its space and endosing it with soul, rather than violently changing it.

Innovation army surplus tents renovation display

1/ Army surplus tents transformed into art exhibition spaces

One impressive example is a former factory building in New York that has been transformed into a thriving arts center. Here, army surplus tents are used as temporary exhibition halls to display various works of modern art. The tent's military setting is an interesting contrast to the avant-garde nature of modern art, attracting a large number of art lovers and tourists.

When you first enter this space, you will see the pitched roof roof, the direct and effective triangular structure, and the criss-crossing lap relationship. army surplus tents has undergone a round of renovation in the past, and has made a glass roof in the middle of the ridge, which has a very abundant sky light into the interior. We wanted to preserve the complete information about the site: its historical mark as an old army warehouse, and the traces left by its transformation. 

This requires us to dig deep into the unique space charm of the original place, strengthen the strength of the wooden structure itself and make full use of the natural light introduced by the glass roof to form a unique internal space, and this space can serve the display of industrial products and the release of new products.

2/ Army surplus tents as a media distribution center

In London, a well-known creative agency used army surplus tents to build a temporary media distribution centre. Equipped with advanced audio and visual equipment, the tent provides the ideal venue for various media events and product launches. This flexible and mobile solution not only saves costs, but also provides brands with a unique way to promote.

alaskan tent, army surplus tents


The relationship between the renovated new industrial buildings and the old army surplus tents is dynamic. They are not only a relationship of inclusion, the design does not want it to be limited to a volume of inclusion, but to obtain a staggered relationship. We want the two structures to meet at some point, to cross over. In the relationship between the new and the old, there is not only contrast or fusion, but also a more complex interleaving relationship.

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Contact Us

Make On-Demand Space Solutions Easier, Faster

SHELTER has a great team of skilled architects ready to support your project or Event at any time.

When you’re ready to start your next business, get in touch with us now, and our architects will get back to you with a quote as soon as possible.

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      [email protected]

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No.1 Huanghe Section,Songshan Road, Chao Tian Industrial Zone,Shilou Town Panyu District,Guangzhou