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OpenAire creates one-of-a-kind retractable canopy for waterfront amphitheater

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Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, West Virginia now boasts a beautiful new retractable canopy over their outdoor amphitheater, thanks in part to OpenAire’s expertise with retractable roof buildings and operable skylights.

Working in conjunction with Birdair Inc., a manufacturer of large custom tensile structures, OpenAire created a custom system that allows the canopy to smoothly open or close depending on the weather or the type of event.

The 35’ x 80’ retractable canopy shades the seating area of the new Schoenbaum Stage, protecting concertgoers from the sun and the rain, and retracting at the touch of a button for fireworks displays and other evening events.

Designed and built by Birdair Inc. (with architects Silling Associates Inc. and engineers GAI Consultants), the unique structure consists of steel arches that support a canopy made of durable, weather-resistant, heat-reflecting fabric panels. It has two parts: a fixed canopy and one that retracts. The retractable canopy sits on four, wheeled carts that roll on two curved steel arches set 80 feet apart. A raised track on each arch keeps the carts centered.

Birdair engaged OpenAire for their expertise with operable buildings. OpenAire’s engineers designed a number of innovative ideas to meet the town’s vision, creating a unique retracting system that enables the canopy to open and close effortlessly. OpenAire designed, built and installed the four wheeled carts and an electrical system that supplies the operating system, motors, control panel, plus a drive system that consists of motion controls such as electrical brake, stop/start and retract functions.

“BirdAir brought us on board because we’re the go-to company for retractable systems, ” explains Dave Bolwerk, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, OpenAire. “It was a great collaboration, with two companies sharing their expertise to come up with a truly unique solution. Their knowledge of fabric structures and our experience with retractable buildings was an inspired pairing that resulted in a versatile solution that’s exactly right for the town.”

Whether they are designing retractable polycarbonate structures for aquatic facilities, creating year-round retractable patios for restaurants, or collaborating on operable fabric solutions, OpenAire engineers have the expertise to develop amazing custom mechanical systems that bring unique projects to life, no matter what the application. The Haddad system, designed “from scratch” specifically for this purpose, is unique to Charleston. No other town has anything quite like it.

“It’s a great addition to a wonderful park, ” says Bolwerk. “One that I’m sure will provide years of enjoyment. Haddad Riverfront Park has boat docking, plus plenty of recreational activities and special events. But the new covered amphitheater really takes it to another level. Charleston residents have something truly special in their town – a structure that’s useful, beautiful, and a real point of civic pride.”

About OpenAire

OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality retractable roof enclosures and skylights for over 20 years. Their projects include the LEED Gold certified Salinas Aquatic Center in Salinas, California, Roseville’s Mike Shellito Indoor Pool, Big Splash Island in French Lick, Indiana, the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas and the world’s largest indoor waterpark with a retractable aluminum dome in Donetsk, Ukraine. By combining your unique vision with OpenAire’s expertise, incredible venues are a reality.

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