Structural design for tensile structures

Massimo Maffeis


Just having started on May 1st, this year the world Expo is hosted for a second time in Italy, in the city of Milan. Based in northern Italy and operating all over the world, the team of Maffeis Engineering is proud that this showcase will bring Italian science, crafts and culture to an international audience.

Even more our team is happy and proud that, for another time in the history of Maffeis Engineering as well as in the history of world Expos, we have been participating with our engineering skills in the development of main structures for the Expo exhibition area. Consecutive to the last Expos in Hanover and Shanghai, known clients as well as new Architects and construction companies have invited Maffeis Engineering to provide design development and engineering services for their extraordinary structures. From consulting renowned architects in their design development for their creative Expo structures, throughout structural analysis, up to executive workshop drawings, all engineering challenges of the structures could be solved even under tough time restrains. The full bandwidth of our skills and resources successfully supported structures using membrane materials such as PVC, ETFE and of course steel and aluminum for geometrical complex structures. Our engineering services are in particular demonstrated by the design and construction for:

  • Cardo and Decumano roof of the pedestrian walkway
    The design of the exposition site recalls the ancient Roman urban planning ideal: two intersecting axes, the Decumano and the Cardo. The Decumano accommodates the international pavilions, while the Cardo hosts other exhibition buildings.
  • Mexican Pavilion
    The frame is inspired by the shape of corn leaves. This vegetable can be considered as the essential food that represents a cultural identity for Mexicans. There are 19 leaves along the perimeter of the building, all different from each other, with variable height, from 12 to 17 meters.
  • Kuwait pavilion
    The architecture of the pavilion is inspired by the typical sailboat from Kuwait, belonging to traditional boats called “Dhow”, still in use in the Arabic Gulf, and by the greenhouse shapes, with some references on the agriculture system of Kuwait The Pavilion covers app. 2.790 square meters and is situated at the north of Decumano.
  • German Pavilion
    The German pavilion concept of stylized fields and meadows, is characterized by close interaction between spatial and content presentation. The “Fields of Ideas” are reflected in the architecture in the form of a gently rising landscape level.


Mr. Massimo Maffeis is the Managing Director as well as Technical director of Maffeis Engineering Spa.

He manages and follows up on the structural design works undertaken by the Firm.
His strong educational background and wide technical experience, with the particular emphasis on tensile-structures (steel cable and fabric) and steel bridges, has enabled him to deal with all types of structures from concept till detailed design stage. He well versed in the various International codes of practice (BS, UBC, AASHTO, Eurocode, AFPS, etc.). In particular he is specialized in the analysis and calculation of buildings, stations, airports, sports complexes and Stadia, tensile and cables structures starting from the conceptual stage up to the final detailed design phase as well as the follow up on site construction activities. The focus of Mr. Maffeis’s experience lies in light-weight membrane structures and cable structures, in addition to glass architectural façade skeletons.

He is furthermore skilled in developing innovative erection and installation methodologies particularly for large span steel structures, cable structures and light fabric roof and façade structures.

His specialization includes retractable roofs and moving mechanical systems.
His leadership skills have allowed him to successfully lead the large design team of the Firm both on the technical and managerial levels.