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Dramatic canopy offers protection high above the city

Features | July 1, 2019 | By:

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA

The Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, in Charlotte N.C., has a stunning 19th-floor lawn and event deck overlooking the city. The popular venue hosts weddings and other large gatherings, and the hotel needed a retractable canopy to protect patrons from sun, rain and high winds that may swirl about the 20-story building. The area of coverage is enclosed on three sides by a restaurant, extended walls and enclosed dining spaces, while facing a glass railing on the fourth side overlook.

Uni-Systems LLC designed a dramatic extended canopy—63 feet wide by 26 feet 9 inches long (when fully deployed) with a cantilever 6 feet beyond the 66-foot transfer beam—that supports the mechanical drive beams that operate the retractable shade canopy. Perpendicular to the support wall, four aluminum drive beams extend out over the main seating deck of the restaurant.

Installing the retractable was no simple act. Major components of the system were delivered to the hotel site during construction of the building while the tower crane was still in place. As construction proceeded upward, the Uni-Systems En-Fold® canopy elements were stored in protective encasing on the rooftop until the 19th-floor surrounding finish construction could be completed. Then the four drive beams and related components were set in place. When the main building construction was complete six months later, Uni-Systems technicians were able to finish the project. One structural concession to deal with potential high winds was a unique release connection between the bottom of the transfer beam and the top surface of each drive beam.  

This project won an Award of Excellence in IFAI’s 2018 International Achievement Awards competition.

Architect:Cooper Carry Atlanta 
Design/project management:Uni-Systems LLC 
Fabrication: Lightweight Manufacturing Inc. 
Installation:Southeastern Architectural Systems 
Fabric: Tenara® 4T40HF Architectural Fabric from SEFAR® AG

Bruce N. Wright, AIA, is an architect, teacher, consultant to architects and designers and a frequent contributor to Specialty Fabrics Review, Fabric Architectureand Advanced Textiles Source.

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