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Outdoor Hotel Patio in the Pacific Northwest
Victoria is tucked in the Olympic Mountains along the coast of British Columbia, near Esquimalt Harbor. Like most areas in the Pacific Northwest, it has cool summers and mild winters. Because the Olympic Mountains shelter the city, it is drier than some of its other Pacific cities like Seattle, but it still receives about two feet of rainfall a year and it has distinct wet and dry seasons.
The hotel overlooking the water had a wide patio along one side for its restaurant, but given the wet seasons, there was much of the year when it could not be used comfortably by guests. The architectural firm working on renovating some of the spaces proposed a very large, freestanding canopy which could provide protection not only in the sunny summer but also in the wet autumn and winter.
The Forli retractable canopy provides excellent strength. Its extruded aluminum frame is rated to winds up to 63 mph (Beaufort scale 10) and is rust-resistant even in briny air. Additionally, the Forli has integrated drainage and, combined with the Ferrari mesh fabric of the awning, is waterproof even in heavy rain.
The Forli was customized with a fairly unique shape, extremely long and narrow -- 9’3” wide with a 32’8” projection. The frame is built with a total of three posts along each side, instead of the normal two. The drainage alternates sides, so that the runoff is equal and the frame is visually balanced.
One complicated thing about the installation is that there were already existing wooden benches and planters along where the canopy posts would be installed, and they could not be relocated or avoided. Instead, holes were drilled into the wood so that the posts could go through the wooden boxes, and concrete pavers were placed under the boxes to support the posts. The cutting had to be very precise, to perfectly align with the posts and to prevent any damage to the wood.
The Ferrari fabric is fire-retardant, which is safer for hotels and dining and a requirement of Canadian fire codes. A gray hood was installed at the base of the canopy to protect the fabric from rain, snow, or debris building up when it is retracted. A profile at the end of the canopy held the motor safety box and enclosed SOmfy motor.
Because of the cool, temperate weather, the hotel installed heaters around the canopy to allow the area to be used year round, in almost any weather except snow.