Building the best patio in town: Boston restaurant wows patrons with an OpenAire retractable roof

Related: OpenAire to build indoor waterpark with retractable roof at Jay Peak, Vermont / OpenAire to Build World’s Largest Retractable Aluminum Dome

Joe’s Restaurant in Boston has just reopened with an exciting new feature: a beautiful four-season patio dining area with a retractable roof by OpenAire. The first structure of its kind in Boston has everyone at the city’s renowned Back Bay Restaurant Group excited about its possibilities.

Joe’s Restaurant recently moved to an historic location on Boston’s famed Newbury Street, home to some of the city’s most exclusive shops and restaurants. The new site featured an existing glass greenhouse which the client wanted to incorporate into the design of the new restaurant. Sousa Design Architects Inc. were engaged to create a sophisticated space that reflected the high-end nature of the neighborhood. Their initial idea was to revise the existing greenhouse to include a slide-open wall that could be closed in the winter months and opened in warmer weather to provide a year-round dining experience with an outdoor feel.

“The owners wanted something spectacular, ” says Stephen Sousa, President of Sousa Design Architects. “They had a vision of creating an outdoor atmosphere but still being able to function in inclement weather. After searching for vendors across North America, we found OpenAire, and they helped us take that vision an exciting step further.”

OpenAire’s expertise with very detailed structures and custom applications made them the obvious choice for the project, and the result is a remarkable, completely unique space. Working with the architect and paying close attention to historical specifications, OpenAire overcame the challenge of designing the structure to blend in with an historic brownstone building. Instead of just creating a straightforward glass wall, an 80’ retractable glass roof was constructed, with 120’ of bi-folding glass doors that open up the restaurant to the streetscape of this elegant neighborhood. The roof is designed to automatically close with the first drop of rain, which keeps customers happy – and tables filled.

“The retractable solution really gives Joe’s Restaurant the best of both worlds, ” says OpenAire president Mark Albertine. “They have a beautiful, light-filled space that’s warm enough to enjoy even in the coldest months. And then, in the summer, they can completely transform it into a genuine open-air patio when it’s sunny, or close it up if it rains. It’s a great way to maximize their square footage, and to offer their customers an experience they won’t find anywhere else in the city.”

“We designed a system with a low slope, creating a look that draws the eye to the building, not the skylight itself, ” says Albertine. “We worked within some pretty tight timelines, but Cafco Construction ran the project efficiently, and it was finished on time, on budget, and met all of the client’s requirements.”
The new Joe’s Restaurant opened in March 2010. It’s an amazing space that’s already a huge success – the customers love being able to use the patio in the cold Boston weather, and the management and staff are looking forward to a busy summer season, rain or shine.

About OpenAire

OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality retractable roof enclosures and skylights for over 20 years. Their commercial projects include the Americana Indoor Water Park in Niagara Falls, Canada, Big Splash Island in French Lick, Indiana, the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas and the world’s largest indoor water park with a retractable aluminum dome in Donetsk, Ukraine. By combining your unique vision with OpenAire’s expertise, incredible venues become a reality.

About Sousa Design Architects

Headed by Stephen A. Sousa, Sousa Design Architects is a Boston-based, full-service design firm specializing in architecture, interiors and graphics. They are at the forefront of the design industry, and have an extensive portfolio of residential and commercial projects. Recent projects include Stephi’s on Tremont in Boston, Tonic and Met Lounge in New York City, and Gypsy Bar in Boston.