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Retractable awning offers clear ocean views

January 1st, 2018 / By: / Case Studies, Exteriors

The Cane & Canoe, an exclusive hotel restaurant known for its unique blend of Hawaiian and Polynesian cuisine, is located in the Montage Hotel at the Kapalua Bay resort, one of Hawaii’s premier oceanfront resorts. Kapalua Bay, a 22,000-acre former pineapple plantation on Maui, has developed into a popular resort that includes two award-winning championship golf courses, hiking trails, zip lines and certified Audubon sanctuaries managed by the Nature Conservancy. Front and center, facing Namalu Bay and the Pacific Ocean, is Kapalua Hotel. The Cane & Canoe restaurant is inside the hotel, but it is open to the pounding shoreline, offering diners an experience for all the senses—taste, sound, heat, touch and sight.

Cane & Canoe takes its architectural and aesthetic cues from the longhouse, the Polynesian canoe hale (“home”), where the local community gathers to build sails, carve boats, weave nets and socialize. A hand-carved canoe ensconced between wooden scrollwork screens is on display to reinforce the restaurant moniker. Despite the spectacular views of the surf, unrelenting sun and heat encroached upon the open-air seating prompting the management to request a retractable awning to improve customers’ comfort.

Retractable awning system

“In an effort to preserve the restaurant’s breathtaking views, no vertical front (support) columns were allowed,” says Gary Barnes, owner and CEO of Honolulu, Hawaii-based Tropical J’s Inc., designers and project managers of the retractable awning system that was put in place. “With no support columns beneath or above the retractable, initial engineering reviews called for the use of heavy structural steel elements.” This type of structural solution would have required heavy lifting equipment in a constricted site, a condition that absolutely prevented access for cranes.

However, the restaurant did have four massive concrete columns holding up the wood-framed hale roof over the restaurant. Side support from these large-diameter columns were deemed sufficient, but they were located toward the rear of the restaurant space. In order for the retractable awning to be effective, a significant cantilever would have been required. What’s more, the client wanted the front edge of the retractable system to have deployable drop-down mesh screens to provide additional shading capability for low sun angles.

Tropical J’s proposed a lightweight framed system that was strong, compact and had no internal belts or traveling “cars” within the framing sections to add unnecessary weight. Tropical J’s used a system developed in Australia, the Corradi B-Space retractable, for the main fabric awning portion of the assembly. And with input from the manufacturer, the system fit perfectly. Barnes says of Corradi, “To take elements from an off-the-shelf system and, using ingenuity and high-quality craftsmanship, to create a unique structure on an extremely tight schedule, and send it to the most remote location in the world where it worked flawlessly, testifies to their amazing capabilities.”

The project won an Award of Excellence in IFAI’s 2016 International Achievement Awards program.

Bruce Wright, AIA, is a writing and marketing consultant to architects and designers and a frequent contributor to IFAI publications.

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