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Rainfly

Seattle, Washington

Rainfly

Seattle, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Kirsten R. Murray

The Rainfly concept originated in 2012 as a submission to Urban Intervention, an ideas competition that invited designers to conceive a fresh vision of environmental, social and economic opportunities for a site at the heart of Seattle Center. Rainfly is composed of a series of adaptable shelter systems spanning the largest continuous green space in downtown Seattle. The shelters adjust to changing weather conditions, transforming back and forth over Seattle’s epicenter for festivals, performances and sporting events. The design incorporates rainwater as an artistic urban watershed, creating energy and accessible open space for informal and unscheduled uses, regardless of weather.

In 2019, Rainfly evolved into a concept for a modular tensile shelter system deployable in any number of urban public areas. Designed to encourage outdoor activity through multiple seasons, Rainfly provides protection on rainy days and light on gloomy days. The flexible shelters create space where people can engage with the outdoors in everchanging weather. Taking inspiration from plants that respond to external stimuli, Rainfly reacts to both the sun and rain, harvesting and storing sunlight in summer months and rain in the winter. Rainfly is made of fabric that harvests light on one side through photovoltaics and emits it on the other via LEDs. The tensile form and transformative skin can be shaped to divert rainfall for water collection.