Feature Article - September 2015
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Make A Statement!

Shelters, Shade Structures Go Above and Beyond

By Deborah L. Vence

Jacksonville, Fla.

In Jacksonville, Fla., the city's riverfront now is donned with 18 shade coverings along with night lighting.

The shade structures were installed by an Ocala, Fla.-based outdoor shade structure manufacturer whose line at the riverfront boasts fabric architecture for cooling shade and aesthetic beauty. The shades also feature jet black metals with eggshell white canopies. The project was for the city of Jacksonville's Public Works Department.

Fabric shade is a natural for absorbing and reflecting indirect light in various colors for an eye-catching nighttime effect.

The shade structures have arching steel piping arms that radiate outward from a curved central support column to create a five-point tensioned shade canopy that makes a bold architectural statement about its determination to shade stylishly. The line is available with electrical accommodations for beautiful fabric shade structures with night lighting.

"Night lighting is a feature we are being asked for more and more, as property managers look for ways to use their facilities at night as well as during the day," Bayman said.

"A logical way to do this is to illuminate their shade structures instead of installing dedicated lighting at a significantly higher cost," he said. "[We] offer an 'electrical package' for most structures, which includes access boxes and gasketed cover plates for electricians to run wiring through our support columns and attach light fixtures."

Bayman said that in the case of the Jacksonville Riverfront project, the lights actually are located in the walkway in front of each shade, so the light is shining up at the fabric canopies and illuminating them for a very attractive indirect lighting effect.

"Fabric shade is a natural for absorbing and reflecting indirect light in various colors for an eye-catching nighttime effect that attracts visitors," Bayman said.

The shades also feature a special UV protection fabric that is available in a variety of colors for maximum air cooling and protection from up to 99 percent of the sun's dangerous UV rays.

"Plus, removal and re-attachment of the canopy is a breeze with our simple stainless steel fastening features built right in," he said.

North Trail Park

Creative shade isn't just for decorating the riverfront. Playgrounds and outdoor exercise areas—particularly in southern states—are kept cooler when shade canopies are installed to protect them from the sun's heat.

In Miami, multi-level framed "sails" were used for a more imaginative shade solution over outdoor exercise equipment. The project was for the Miami-Dade County Parks & Open Spaces.

Bayman said Miami-Dade County Parks, one of the largest park systems in the country, wanted something more creative for the project than just a utilitarian fabric-on-frame design.

"Our design lent itself well to this project since it provides a perfectly square shade covering over the cement pad under the exercise equipment, but also creates an imaginative look similar to our more free-flowing 'Sail' designs with layers of overlapping canopies," he said.