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96 LANDSCAPING & EXTERNAL WORKS


(forgoing the need for blinds), the reduction in natural light, and similarly the lack of providing a dual benefit with shelter from rain, means that this is a system that’s falling out of favour with UK end-users. In fact, it is the dual-benefit aspect which must not be overlooked when planning which system to use.


Despite the ever increasing temperatures the UK is experiencing in spring and summer, designers still need to consider that the UK’s somewhat unique weather system does present its own challenges. The low-cost shade sail provides little in way of protection from rain, providing nothing but a place for water to pool and grow stagnant, or simply run off in a torrent below. Similarly, louvres are completely ineffective against rain and sleet protection, hence the falling from grace with regards to their installation at a building’s entrance.


Architectural canopies represent a further option for architects and clients alike, offering both shade and rain protection for users. While there is a more considered approach to design and installation with such a structure, such an intervention ensures that these can deliver the project brief for a number of years, negating the initial expenditure. Here careful collaboration between contractor and architect at a planning stage is especially key, more so than with a shade sail alternative.


Considerations with regards to shading now fall further than simply casting a shadow on a building, and with the importance of natural light, longevity and user safety equally key, it stands architects and designers in good stead to demonstrate this understanding to their clients when discussing a brief.


Whether it be an installation to be sited against a building, or a free standing area of shelter in open space, care and consideration should be taken when deciding on which method of shade is selected. While public perception of overexposure to UV is now greatly increased, it is still clear that no-one wants to spend their time in a shadow during the warmer months. Equally, if the specified solution provides the additional advantage of rain protection, while still remaining visually appealing and retaining the above benefits, the end project will be all the better for it.


Louise Martin-Bennett is canopy draughtsperson at Fordingbridge


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK ADF JULY 2019


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