A preschool now can make the most of its space after Fresco Shades replaced some old shade sails with conjoined canopies on the school’s L-shaped deck. Children get to play and learn outside even on rainy days.

“We have come across some complicated designs before, but none quite this quirky. To say it was a challenge to design for this project was an understatement,” notes Megan Cummins, manager, in the winning entry for the 2022 Outdoor Fabric Products Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ) Awards in the category of Tension Structures & Canopies, 51–100 square meters (549–1,076 square feet). 

Only one area on each side of the deck area was a true square. “The rest was angled and of varying heights and roof styles,” the project notes continue. “The level of detail required was considerable. Considering all the varying angles and heights, everything had to be absolutely accurate to make these canopies work. We were joining a standard arch to a sloping reverse lean to.”

The gable end had a steep angle, with a height difference between the two areas. The gutters and soffits both sloped. 

“We couldn’t follow that slope without creating further complications, so we leveled the back rail,” Cummins’ entry explains. “However, this meant each bracket had to be made individually at different heights and had to be mounted in a specific spot to fit properly.”

Because of the precision needed, the installers decided to assemble the framing on-site, with the designer involved to assist—even the order in which the connections were made mattered. The curtain framing was the next challenge, requiring square posts facing each other. “Flashings and static panels were installed to make this canopy work with the sides,” the notes say.

Although the project was contracted during the company’s busiest time of the year, it still was completed on time and under budget, just in time for the students to come back after the holidays. Even better, the project turned into referrals. 

Project name: Fun with angles

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Design, fabrication & installation: Fresco Shades

Fabric: Ferrari 502

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