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Creator Of The World’s Largest Temporary Structures Releases First Book

Rudi Enos, the designer of some of the largest temporary structures ever used by rock and pop stars, festivals, spectacles and awards ceremonies throughout the world, publishes his first book ‘The Sky is Not the Limit’ this month.

The book explores the history of tents and temporary structures from the earliest times to the present day. After graduating in engineering in the early 1970s, Enos worked in the motor-racing industry with the Shadow Formula 1 team before joining the entertainment world in 1974 as a “rigger and dogsbody” with a variety show touring Asia. After designing four stages for the Queen’s Jubilee in 1976 and building a stage used by Mohammed Ali in South Shields, he designed his first tent, a big top used at Glastonbury Festival in 1978. Since then he has designed a range of other structures used extensively throughout the UK and the international festival industry.

Perhaps his best known creations are the distinctive multi-peaked Kayam structure, which he conceived in 1988, first deploying it at Glastonbury in 1992, and the Guinness World Record-holding Tensile 1, or Valhalla, mobile stadium, a 16 mast structure with a surface area of 14,510m2, equivalent to a 12,000 capacity arena. He now runs Sheffield-based businesses, Rudi Special Structures Lab Ltd, serving the entertainment, construction and leisure industries.

“Tents may be considered the oldest form of man-made structure,” says Enos. “When man first moved out of caves, his first house would have been animal hides stretched over small branches. This book describes the history of tents as magnificent buildings, as symbols of power and as inspiration for spectacular architecture. My involvement is obviously at the latter end of that time scale and comes from spending the last 40 years designing, building and installing these monster structures around the world. I was fortunate to be around when the opportunity came along to build what I believe to be the largest single truly portable structure ever built.”

The Sky is Not the Limit is the first in what Enos expects to be a series of three books, which will offer in-depth insight into the techniques of tent design and construction, and a reference into their use at events of every sort.

The Sky is Not the Limit is published by Phaedrus Press, priced £28 and available from Amazon or

Rudi Enos runs Special Structures Lab (SSL) in Sheffield, a collaboration with Glasgow-based structural engineers Alan White Design. He also collaborates with other engineers around the world on many permanently engineered structural fabric roofs for architecture and construction.