The Delaware Technical Community College canopy project presented more challenges than one would think. Tevebaugh Associates, the project architect, wanted a sleek, free-standing marquise-shaped canopy with integrated up-lighting. Because of its size (80 feet long, 32 feet wide), a free-standing canopy with a consistent look would be difficult to achieve. This difficulty became apparent when Tevebaugh encountered several roadblocks with their initial manufacturer. Tevebaugh came to EXTECH to see if we could help make their design come to life.
Since this was to be a gathering place enjoyed by faculty, students, parents, and new college prospects, the canopy absolutely had to be a thing of beauty. Typical glazing panels are sub-divided by cross-mullions, which would negatively affect the canopy’s aesthetic. To achieve the elegant look desired by the architect and the college, EXTECH worked with the design team and engineered the use of full-length, monolithic glazing to eliminate the cross mullions, hide a majority of the framing, and create a sleek, long-spanning look. To our knowledge, monolithic polycarbonate had never been installed in such long sheets; this was a notable achievement in polycarbonate canopy design.
Several more challenges presented themselves throughout the project timeline. Due to the 32’ length of the largest glazing panels, EXTECH had to address the logistics of transporting and maneuvering them during fabrication and at the project site. Additionally, because the canopy edges are made of two large sweeping curves, each glazing panel had to be cut to a precise and unique angle. EXTECH fabricated the panels with the precision required for the canopy’s elliptical shape, providing for its easy installation.
Along with the elimination of the cross-mullions, another unique aspect of the system was the design and manufacture of a custom gutter assembly to shield pedestrians from canopy run-off. EXTECH added a rounded “waterfall” edge to the canopy glazing above the gutter to stop run-off from "overshooting" the gutter.
The innovations in design and fabrication and the dedication of everyone involved enabled the project to be completed before students returned for the fall semester. With all said and done, the canopy delivers a lustrous look with UV and leak-resistant protection, a vibrant nocturnal mystique when illuminated, and a community destination for all of campus life’s celebrations.