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OpenAire transforms The Plunge at FIT with new retractable roof

OpenAire Plunge

OpenAire, a leading designer and manufacturer of retractable roofs and skylights, has completed work on a new retractable roof for an iconic San Diego landmark.

OpenAire is pleased to announce that it has transformed The Plunge at FIT in San Diego with the completion of a new retractable roof. The venue was originally built as the centrepiece of San Diego’s Belmont Park on Mission Beach in 1925 and has now been given a new lease of life thanks to the project.

Previously, The Punge Natatorium was a closed-off, dark venue, but now with the addition of an all-glazed 29,000 square foot retractable roof from OpenAire, the attraction is now light and airy.


The curved glazed roof enclosure is 104′ by 204′ in length, with floor to roof glass sidewalls over 39′ high giving the feel of a beach extension. The 10 large retractable roof panels and the two glass overhead doors, as well as the motorized pivot windows, can be opened to allow the ocean breeze to flow through the building and are easily closed again with the touch of a button.

Light and airy beachside venue

Next to the FIT Athletic Club, the enclosure features a brand-new, 25-foot wide two-story mezzanine which runs along the whole length. Here, visitors can workout or just relax and enjoy the beach and poolside views.

The iconic Plunge swimming pool was in desperate need of repairs after 91 years of use when it closed for renovations in 2016. Evaporation from the 60′ by 125′ pool had caused the building’s steel frame to corrode. OpenAire‚Äôs new freestanding enclosure, with all aluminium frame and stainless steel hardware, is able to weather both the humid pool environment and the sea air.

The project is a public-private partnership between leaseholder Pacifica, The Fit Athletic Club and the City of San Diego and came in at a cost of $12 million. This new enclosure connects with the FIT Athletic Club and allows users easy access between the two.

The whole project aimed to preserve distinctive features of the San Diego landmark, including replication of historic arches at the entrances as well as the original pool floor design. The famous Wyland whaling mural will also be fully restored.

Previous projects by OpenAire include a retractable enclosure for Toronto’s Barcelona Tavern, bringing the company’s signature indoor-outdoor vibe.

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charlotte coates

Charlotte Coates

Charlotte Coates is blooloop's Editor. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.

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