Feature Article - September 2022
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A Shady Place

Shade Structures & Shelters for Parks & Other Recreational Spaces

By Joe Bush


Picture This

Technology has allowed companies to better help clients picture what types of shade structures and shelters to choose and where to put them. Fritz said his company uses a software that turns conceptual renderings into 3-D versions that clients can then use to promote their concepts to funding sources.

Stubbs said when he wanted to properly position his shade structures at Spivey Splash, the manufacturing partner used software that tracked the sun throughout the day at the waterpark's location to determine the best placement.

Cipriano said a landscape architect can help a customer get a tailor-made shade structure by working with both the customer and manufacturer. "Our clients are the end users, but we're kind of playing the designer that would work with the manufacturer to develop what it would look like," said Cipriano. "It depends on the client and how much money they have."

For one project, Cipriano's client wanted something unique so he worked with the manufacturer on a design that would fit the rest of the park's artsy vibe. There were three different sports fields, but the goal for the shade structures and amenities was a non-traditional sports look. "We came up with a circular [structure] based on something (the manufacturer) already had in their catalog," said Cipriano. "We tweaked the formula."

For another client Cipriano used one of the manufacturer's square-shaped shelters as a jumping off point to create a piece that fit better with the park's other structures.

"We took inspiration from that, and we're developing something that's more curvilinear with the same kind of principle of that structure to develop something that's a little more modern looking," he said.

Shelter manufacturers offer a vast array of styles, materials and even customization options for shelters and shade structures, so even if you don't have the budget for a completely customized look, you can almost always find the aesthetic you're targeting. RM