The Open-Air Possibilities!

Shade for All Occasions

Open-air structures can bring a community together in many ways. They can provide shade and shelter for concerts, athletic events, bus stops, walkways, dog parks, farmer’s markets, gathering places, outdoor eating areas, outdoor fitness areas, children’s play areas, small areas, uniquely designed areas, and just for fun areas. They can help define a space and welcome visitors with a visual acknowledgment that “something special happens here”. They allow visitors to stay outdoors longer and enjoy nature by providing shade against the harsh sun and shelter against the inclement weather. Today open-air structures go beyond the basic and traditional design and usage to customizable creations that allow for new and innovative choices. Whether the space is large or small; unique designs of open-air structures can be created to match the specifics of the venue and the needs of the surrounding community.


Urban planners are often asked to develop strategies and recommendations to revitalize struggling downtown areas and help bring life back into the heart of a community. Each town is unique, but in general, community leaders want more retail and restaurants in the downtown area. Planners know that adding landscaping and open-air amphitheaters is a catalyst for redevelopment that offers a multi-purpose facility for communities to come together and enjoy. Most urban developers are attracted to the idea of family-oriented activities during the day and early evening, while more adult entertainment can be planned for later evening hours. Amphitheaters can host concerts, theatrical productions, storytelling, movie night, or creative workshop. And they have been around since the Roman times when amphitheaters drew crowds to see performances, which also drew food vendors and shops that eventually turned into a market square. As the ancient Romans demonstrated thousands of years ago, amphitheaters can bring communities together and generate positive economic impact if they are located properly and designed with a multitude of uses to entice visitors of all ages to enjoy the space and surrounding amenities. As in centuries past, amphitheaters can add a new dimension to modern cities and towns, and bring people of all ages together for entertainment, recreation, and interaction.


Athletic Venues

There’s nothing quite like enjoying an outdoor sporting event on a sunny day and it is crucial to ensure the protection of the athletes and fans alike by providing adequate cover against the sun and the elements. Outdoor athletic venues have a variety of uses for open-air structures from dug-out covers, bleacher seating canopies, basketball court structures, food court shade, to the concession stand pavilions. Providing these types of shelters helps ensure the prevention of sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, or inclement weather; and the result is a more enjoyable experience for both athletes and spectators. Each of these unique types of open-air designs can be customized to fit the specific location’s needs and enhance the overall usability of the facility. Athletic outdoor programs are a great way to entice the local community to get involved and utilize the venue. It is also beneficial if the sports venue caters to all ages so that everyone in the community has an opportunity to participate in the fun and activities.


Bus Stops ~ Walkways

At some point most of us will commute via some form of public transportation and waiting at a bus stop, train stop, or taxi location is much more pleasant if shade from the sun and protection from the elements are provided. Any time waiting or walking can be done with the added protection of a shelter to combat the heat and dehydration from the sun or the unpredictable wrath of the weather, it makes the journey more pleasant and enjoyable. Being outdoors a certain amount of time is a given but how that time is spent can be improved dramatically if shade from overexposure and shelter from bad weather is an option. The more these types of opportunities are provided to commuters in a community, the more they will utilize them which will encourage them to explore the local area and hopefully indulge in the local businesses, events, and activities.


Dog Park

Dog parks are ideal places for pets to get exercise and spend time outdoors but too much sun exposure can be dangerous for them, especially if they are used to being indoors in the nice, cool A/C. Providing open-air shade structures at the local dog park can help pets and pet owners stay cool and comfortable while still getting some quality time outdoors. Having a place to rest and cool off allows for a longer stay at the dog park which your pet will thank you for. Dogs, just like humans, enjoy their playtime, and allowing your pet more of it makes for a happier, healthier; and hopefully, a more tired pet at the end of the day!


Farmer’s Market

The main advantage of having a farmers’ market is to be able to talk directly with the farmer, rancher, designer, or chief; depending on what kind of exhibitors are at your local farmers’ market. It is a great way to support your local community and economy while getting to know the people and wares that make up your area. Having a large open-air structure to house all the vendors for the market ensures both, the exhibitors and their customers will be protected from the heat and elements which will allow them to spend more time enjoying each other. Sharing the benefits of their labor with their neighbors, while also sharing local stories and history, helps communities become closely connected to their location and each other. This, in turn, results in a sense of community pride for all.


Gathering Place

Sometimes all we want is just a place to celebrate a birthday or family event but with over ten people it can become expensive to dine out or reserve a conference room. Open-air structures in the local park or community are perfect for just this type of occasion. They can be reserved for a small fee or some are merely “first-come-first-serve” and there is no cost at all. When a large group wants to have an outdoor gathering or party to celebrate an event, park pavilions are a perfect idea. They provide the needed protection from the sun and rain and, most of the time, include a table with benches. Some even have lights and some provide electrical outlets for your own lights. All that is left is a little creative decorating to match the event and the shelter provides the rest.


…to be continued