Company: Uni-Systems, LLC

Project details

Fabric name: Tenara 4T40HF Architectural Fabric
Fabric producer: SEFAR AG, Architectural Fabrics
Fabric supplier: SEFAR AG, Architectural Fabrics
Engineer: Tony Hogg Design Ltd.
Design: Peter Fervoy, Uni-Systems, LLC
Architect: Ettwein Bridges Architects LLP
Fabrication: Rob Dengler, Uni-Systems, LLC
Project manager: Peter Fervoy, Uni-Systems, LLC
Installation: Andy Chiverton , Base Structures, Ltd.
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Photos: Nick Bond – Guildford Photographer

Please describe the project specifications.
An integrated 42-feet by 37-feet retractable fabric canopy to provide shade and rain protection for a rooftop terrace of a recently built infill hotel in the downtown historic district of Guildford, England. Fabric is PTFE, Sefar Tenara® 4T40.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?
The client for this project, the Edwardian Group, developers of high-design four and five-star luxury hotels with historic undertones, required a retractable cover to a rooftop terrace of the 185-room Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in the heart of Guildford. The developer had engaged its regular architect to design a rain/shade canopy system for the terrace and had taken the design up to DD (design development) stage when the Edwardian Group design director saw the Bal Harbour Shops’ En-Fold installation in Florida, prompting a halt of design and a major change in approach. Guildford, located just 27 miles southwest from London, is the historic county seat of Surrey where the University of Surrey and the Anglican Guildford Cathedral hold sway. At city’s center, the Radisson Blu hotel is located off High Street, a section of town paved with granite cobblestones and rimmed by trendy fashion shops such as Hugo Boss, Gant, and Armani Exchange, lending it a quaint sense of English period towns contrasted with chic storefronts. Voted the ninth best place to live in Britain, Guildford holds onto its past while embracing the future with new construction such as the Radisson Blu. A smooth running, clean-line retractable canopy fitted perfectly into the client’s conception of an infill hotel that is framed on one side by the restored façade of the historic White Horse Inn (now fronting the hotel kitchen and bar area) and on the other side by new construction.

What is unique or complex about the project?
A major challenge was fitting the depth of the En-Fold canopy drive beams and the two structural transfer beams within the narrow height of the façade banding where the canopy structure could be attached. The entire pitch of the canopy surface needed to be contained within this narrow band as well. This forced the En-Fold retractable canopy unit to be limited the canopy extension to 37 feet at full length. Two drive beams power the canopy system at 26 feet on center within a working width of 42 feet across, while leaving open spaces on both sides of the fabric canopy, an air gap of just 58 inches from canopy edges to sidewalls within the open-air courtyard. The 42-feet maximum width of the shade unit was made possible by designing for the lowest allowable wind load at 16psf. An anemometer is used to signal the control system to automatically retract the En-Fold unit when wind gusts of 45mph are detected.

What were the results of the project?
The project fits perfectly within the hotel’s contemporary architecture and historic context of neighboring structures. The En-Fold automated system provides hotel guests extended, more active use of the rooftop terrace in all weather conditions, thereby increasing the management’s ROI on an otherwise under used space.

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