David Geiger Ph.D., P.E. was an adjunct professor at Columbia University with a part-time practice when in 1968 Davis Brody Architects contacted him to consult for the U.S. Exhibition Hall at EXPO '70 in Osaka, Japan. In response to a severe project budget reduction late in the design process, Geiger developed a low-profile clear span exhibit structure with the invention of his low-profile cable-restrained air- supported roof. The success of the Osaka Pavilion led Geiger to consider the desirability of employing fabric tension membranes in permanent building structures. He applied for and received a Ford Foundation grant to develop an 'architectural fabric'. Assembling a team with Owens-Corning, DuPont, Chemfab, and Birdair, he led the development of the architectural Teflon™(ptfe) coated fiberglass®, now employed around the world in a wide variety of architectural-structural applications.
After Osaka, Horst Berger joined David Geiger's practice thus forming Geiger Berger Associates. The firm pioneered lightweight and tensioned membrane structures for long-span roofs. In the U.S. during the 1970s and early 1980s, eight football and multipurpose domed stadia were built with air-supported roofs engineered by Geiger Berger. Other notable structures engineered by Geiger Berger (and Geiger Associates) are the tensile membrane Haj Terminal at Jeddah International Airport, Saudi Arabia which in 2010 won the American Institute of Architects 25-Year Award; the first tensegrity type dome, a Geiger-invented structural system built for the Olympic Gymnastics Venue in Seoul, Korea; and the world's first translucent insulated fabric roof for the Talisman Centre (a.k.a. Lindsay Park) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
In 1983 Horst Berger left the firm which carried on as Geiger Associates until David Geiger sold it to KKBNA in 1986. The practice continued as Geiger-KKBNA until the parent firm in Denver became insolvent in mid-1988.
David Geiger and his colleagues Kris Hamilton, David Chen, Paul Gossen, David Campbell, and Mike Liao founded Geiger Engineers in 1988, joined by Tim Mills and other key staff to continue their practice with offices in New York, NY and Bellingham, WA. David Geiger's untimely death in 1989, only 15 months after the firm's founding, left the remaining Principals to carry on in his spirit. With their unique expertise in long span and tensile membrane structures as a foundation, Geiger Engineers has built a specialized engineering practice of sports facilities structures, operable and retractable structures, building envelopes, and special structures, as well as providing engineering services for the entertainment industry. The firm has also continued in the development of membrane building materials, most recently with Cabot Corporation and Birdair in the development of Tensotherm™, thermally insulated tensile membrane.