OpenAire has begun construction of the new 100,000 sf Island Waterpark at The Showboat Resort Atlantic City.

OAKVILLE, ON – March 2022 – OpenAire is pleased to share that Tower Investments Inc, a leading developer of retail, entertainment, mixed use, residential and commercial properties, founded by Bart Blatstein, who is also the owner of Showboat Resort, broke ground in January on a new $100 million indoor water park in Atlantic City.

The 100,000-square-foot park will be called the Island Waterpark and is going to be located at the Showboat Resort Atlantic City. The waterpark is expected to open to the public in 2023.

The retractable roof enclosure by OpenAire will open to the adjacent boardwalk and how everything from an exclusive adults lounge to a zip line and suspended coaster over the largest waterpark in the region. The over 550ft long building will include a variety of adult and kid friendly zones plus large sliding doors that open to the boardwalk.

The Waterpark will include:

atlantic city waterpark featuredOpenAire is pleased to share that the waterpark will sit adjacent to the Showboat Resort and the entirely aluminum enclosure will be able to resist the corrosive effects of both the waterpark and the beachfront ocean air. The operable roof will ensure that the park can be open every day year round.
OpenAire has been designing and building retractable roof enclosures for waterparks for over 30 years. The aluminum structures are maintenance free, corrosion resistant and are naturally ventilated reducing energy consumption and life cycle costs for the waterpark.

The Island Waterpark is the newest part of an ongoing commitment to creating Atlantic City’s first year-round family resort, following the recent opening of the Lucky Snake Arcade at Showboat Resort. The Lucky Snake is an 85,000 sf arcade, featuring more than 300 games, a sports bar, a boxing ring, e-sports gaming, live entertainment stages, and a speakeasy that pays tribute to the town’s history and involvement in prohibition. The newest attraction this Spring to this fabulous arcade is indoor go-carts which will make this the largest arcade on the East Coast.

atlantic city waterpark slideThe Island Waterpark will ensure that the Showboat Resort continues its evolution into THE family friendly resort destination in Atlantic City. The beachfront location and bright space full of new and exciting water attractions and water sports will become a target destination for family fun in the region. The benefit of the fabulous location and assortment of activities is sure to please crowds of all sizes and ages.

About OpenAire

OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality, environmentally conscious retractable roof structures and skylights for over 30 years. We bring unique visions to life from initial design to installation, transforming buildings into sunlit spaces customers love. Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, OpenAire is approaching 1,200 projects throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Some of our projects include multiple cruise liners in Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum series of ships; the Rooftop Bar at the Refinery Hotel in New York, NY; Restoration Hardware’s “RH Gallery” in Chicago, IL; Gibson Italia restaurant on the Chicago River at the River Point Tower; Fort Lewis College Observatory for the Geosciences, Physics and Engineering Hall in Durango, CO; Epic Waters Waterpark, Grand Prairie, Texas; Kalahari Resort & Waterpark in Pocono Mountains, PA (the largest waterpark under one roof in the USA); Tropicana Waterpark in Stadthagen, Germany; Jay Peak Ski Resort’s Pump House Indoor Waterpark in Jay, VT; the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, NV. To learn more about OpenAire Inc.’s projects and capabilities, visit and follow us on Twitter. For more details on this project, please e-mail

For more information contact our team;
T: 905-901-8535

March 21, 2022 - OpenAire is thrilled to Partner with SOSH Architects in the renovation of the rooftop at Resorts Casino Hotel. The upper level pool deck is being transformed with a new glass retractable roofs enclosure, new, luxury furniture, TVs and a bar. The newly updated Rooftop deck will be the latest sin a series of renovations to the hotel and is expected to open in early summer 2022.

Guests will be thrilled with the new open enclosure and glass walls - giving them an incredible view of the adjacent boardwalk and waterfront from this gorgeous upgraded hotel amenity.

Resorts Casino Hotel was constructed in 1978 and is managed by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment Property.

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment took over the management of Resorts Casino Hotel in 2012. The venue sits on 21 acres and offers 942 guest rooms and suites in two hotel towers, an 80,000 square foot casino, two theatres and 10 restaurants. Guests can also enjoy shopping, spa and health club facilities.

Article Link:

Rendering for Concept Purposes only

resorts casino hotel rendering 4

resorts casino hotel rendering 3

resorts casino hotel rendering 2

resorts casino hotel rendering 1

Opening in 2022, OpenAire is pleased to be partnering with the designers at SOSH Architects on the new beer garden called The Yard, located at Bally’s Atlantic City.

bally's atlantic city boardwalk beer hall

The Yard will be a 60ft wide and 85ft long retractable roof enclosure sitting within the U shaped courtyard of the hotel. The new beer garden will feature operable walls on all sides and a retractable roof that opens in 10 moving sections. Adding a retractable roof enclosure that opens and closes at the push of a button will mean that no matter the weather or time of year, The Yard will be a destination that can’t be missed.

The venue is inspired by Philadelphia and New York-style beer halls, Bally’s executives said. Once finished, The Yard will be over 10,000 square feet, with more than 5,000 square feet of new construction.

“The modern industrial design and open-air space captures beautiful views from every angle in a park-like setting and designed to guarantee outstanding acoustics for live entertainment all year long. The Yard is a game-changer and an unmatched experience and must-see attraction for all guests visiting Atlantic City,” said Paul Juliano, senior vice president of operations at Bally’s Corporation.

The retractable roof enclosure with its glass walls and translucent roof will ensure that the view from inside the hotel and from the boardwalk to the Casino is unhindered. The open airy space, will certainly be a highlight of the massive renovation underway a the hotel.

The short answer is yes, if you can. After a couple years of Covid-19 related delays and cancellations the world has finally gone back to work. However what remains is higher construction costs and far longer lead times. So if you had a project and it was put on hold, is it a good time to re-start your pre-covid project or should you wait?

As you can imagine the cost of construction is high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks everything from labour to construction costs to specific commodities. The list goes on but an enlightening piece of information is the Special Cost Index for overall Construction Materials.

pre-covid project

A building is never one material, one item, one supplier. A building is a series of materials sometimes overlaid like a paint, sometimes joined like wood or metal and concrete. A good indices of overall costs is this overall Special index. Sure one material might be on the up and another on the way down but the overall trend is the one to really think about.

Since the 1950s construction material costs have been rising, as has the cost of labour. So is there ever a “great time” to start… Yes - when the cost to borrow to invest in these materials is low. Like right now.

The cost to borrow money seems poised to rise but now is a good time to get the money you need to start and lock in costs for your project. A good hedge for escalating costs is to lock in material pricing with suppliers.

Restarting Your Pre-Covid Project

A company like OpenAire starts with larger upfront deposits to do just that. By starting a new or pre-covid project and putting down a larger deposit you can “lock in” the price of materials at current rates and hedge cost of escalation. It is a bet, indeed, but with the trends on the up you are now at “Current rates” and in line for materials.

But what if prices drop? Well thats the bet and at best, a moderate drop in the individual price of one material, actually won’t impact your construction costs. The overlap of multiple materials and items is simply too great.

The delays in construction schedules we are seeing right now, means that even if one commodity drops in price you are still holding onto a property with nothing happening. Real estate isn’t dropping and utilities are also on the rise. So if you are not planning to jump ship and bail on the entire thing, now is the time to get in “line” so you have a chance of seeing something sometime next year.

At this point, in February of 2022… if you have a pre-covid project  or new project starting, you likely won’t see anything until 2023. Depending on the size of the project, that might actually be 2024. So you need to factor in the cost of delays and simple scheduling. Projects take time, and now that time is at its peak.

All manufacturers are now booking a few years out, after the Covid-19 slowdowns, it appears the construction market is back. While this is an exciting time, there remains an element of hesitation. However, as the world looks to demote Covid-19 to an endemic disease, economies, businesses and investors are looking to get back on track and plan for the future.

A few tactics to consider include planning a project in phases with consideration for lower maintenance structures and buildings that cost less to operate. Also, and importantly, buildings that are helpful in ensuring the next time an air borne virus takes over, that your space is naturally ventilated and able to handle people in volume safely.

Start now with the plan to grow. A system like OpenAire allows for expansion and natural ventilation through operable walls and roofs. Literally we can take off an end wall and make your space bigger down the road.

Or if you are looking to renovate your existing space, we can rip off old walls and roofs and replace them with new. Open roofs and walls allow theses spaces to operate even during a pandemic like what we have seen the past two years.

So if you have a project and access to funding, it is Go Time!

Are you familiar with Operable Walls? Every business owner is looking for long-term solutions to prevent future pandemic closures. This means not only modified business models and services but sometimes includes upgraded facilities. Most cities and towns have commercial areas where businesses find themselves in storefront spaces. Typically these are glass fronted spaces because it is well researched that retail spending increases in day-lit environments.

Reducing interior partitions and allowing air to flow through these spaces from front to back and or side to side is a fabulous and easy solution for increasing air flow. Except that many of these facilities do not include operable facades. The (typically) single entry door is often beside a very large window wall that doesn’t open. A retractable roof or skylight would help (a-lot) but thats not always possible. So what can owners do?

It is a reality that typical commercial facades are fairly basic glass walls - called "storefront". Sometimes in line with a historic facade, often as part of a low cost commercial building block. Some modern, some not… all fixed glass. Whether the glass is frosted, clear, in large panes, with one door or two, none of them open up. There are multiple suppliers of storefront in all provinces and states. Their offerings are similar.

However expectations as we know have changed with the onset of Covid-19…. It is now very important to naturally ventilate businesses with large volumes of fresh air for the healthy and safety of staff and clients. The volume of people in a restaurant or retail store, means that it is necessary to open up walls to keep air moving in and out of a space at a large volume so that infection rates can be minimized.

There is actually an easy solution for opening up the front or side facade of your business. It sounds simple and in most cases it is. It involves opening up the walls and replacing fixed glass with glass that moves.

Three Things To Consider About Operable Walls

  1. Should the new wall opening be walkable?
    In other words should staff and guests be able to enter and exit through the wall when its open or is there a reason that a railing might be included in the operable wall? This might be due to the type of business or perhaps a second floor location etc. There are many reasons why a wall may or may not become a walking passage. Its fairly easy to make sure a new open wall either opens to become a railing or includes a railing element.
  2. Should the wall be manual or motorized?
    You have the option to have a wall open via the flick of a switch, or via a manual window or door. Depending on the size and number of doors/windows and the way they open, a motorized system can be an excellent solution, with less risk of human error and breakage. This makes the most sense in a larger format opening or where a larger piece of glass is to move. The manual options of sliding doors and folding (bi-fold) doors are great for standard height spaces with smaller openings. Sliding doors are great for taller heights, bi fold doors have more limited height options.
  3. How do you want the wall(s) to open?
    Up down, left right, folding, sliding etc… There are multiple options for how to open a wall, each option includes operations, maintenance, cost, safety, egress, height, width and other considerations.

operable wallsA typical door and or window company can supply a large variety of manual window and door options. The options for sliding or bifold doors are many. If however you are looking for a motorized system there are fewer options. The benefits of a motorized system is that large panes of glass can be raised, lowered pivoted or can slide out of the way at the pust of a button. No risk for operator error.   

OpenAire is the ideal supplier for moving and operable walls. Typically oversized and unique in location, OpenAire not only opens roofs but also walls. Whether its an oversized wall sliding left to right or a motorized window series that drops down to become a railing, we have developed a series of solutions. 

The newest series of motorized operable walls from OpenAire are light frame horizontal panels, where the top two panels slide down and become a railing. Found initially on various cruise ship projects with Royal Caribbean, these operable walls have been modified to suit smaller commercial environments. There are over 15 of these doors on the newly renovated Westin Bear Mountain Resort; Masters Lounge in Victoria BC.

Contact our team to find out more.


openaire aia

OAKVILLE, Ontario – November 16, 2020 - OpenAire, the leading builder of retractable roof solutions, is thrilled to announce that on December 08, 2020 our first Retractable Roofs: A Sustainable Solution will be launched via a Webinar at 2pm EST hosted by Nancy Patterson, our Director of Design & Business Development. Upon completion of the live webinar, the course will be available 24/7 via the Architectural Record Continuing Education Library until the end of 2021. Architects will earn 1 AIA - LU - HSW Credit when they take the course!


OpenAire has spent many years extolling the health benefits of adding fresh air, daylight and natural ventilation to any location. A solution which can be added to an existing or a new space, but which has its roots in aquatic venues. Now, with eh onsite of Covid-19, its become critical to share our knowledge of the benefits for owners and designers. Energy savings, health, revenue opportunities and more. This is no longer an optional consideration, for many its a life line. As such it was the right time to put in writing what we know and share that with architects around the globe.

OpenAire has a global portfolio of over 1000 projects that range from retractable roofs over waterparks, to shopping malls, to restaurants, clubs, hotels, resorts, spas, to municipal and leisure centres, to private clubs, YMCAs, and prestige residences.

Our over thirty years of experience and vast portfolio of the design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of retractable roofs and operable walls has secured our position as forward thinking industry leaders, who work with architects to make their creative visions a reality. With the complexity faced by all businesses, in all industries this year, it was the right time to launch a course.

"We have been working with architects on design solutions for healthy, fresh ventilated spaces for years, but the challenges that came to the forefront amidst the 2020 pandemic, has meant we are working with many existing client owners to help them educate their local health departments about the benefits of "turning off" a building mechanically and letting Mother Nature do her thing. Suddenly spaces that open up to let nature in aren’t extras or add-ons, these buildings are critical for businesses to survive." said Director, Nancy Patterson.

The health and safety benefits of retractable roof solutions has become pronounced in recent months as the Covid-19 pandemic has spread around the world. The large volume of air that a retractable roof can bring into any space, provides a simple natural ventilation system that can help alleviate the challenges of virus transmission and can help make occupants feel comfortable and confident in the spaces we all design and create.

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"Air flow in massive volumes turns buildings into natural chimneys. Many of our clients have been able to be open (albeit at limited capacity per local guidelines) and operate as "outdoor" facilities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Even with reduced guest capacities, it has meant there is income for these businesses throughout this complicated time. It has been wonderful to see some of our clients able to succeed in this otherwise chaotic year!" says OpenAire CEO, Mark Albertine.

While this is an especially critical solution for any type of aquatic venue; due to the corrosion and poor air quality from chloramines, the fact is that a large volume of fresh air can be added to any space where people gather, making those spaces useable year round, brightly lit, appealing to occupants and best of all cost efficient and environmentally sustainable.

Upon Completion of the course students will be able to:

The course will be worth one (1) AIA Continuing Education Learning Unit (1 AIA CE LU-HSW) which is easily transferable to Canadian Provincial Associations and other international Associations per association guidelines.

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About OpenAire

OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality, retractable roof structures and skylights for 31 years. We bring unique designs to life from concept to installation, transforming buildings into sunlit spaces that customers love. Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, OpenAire has over 1,000 projects throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Some of our projects include unique and inviting commercial / entertainment and aquatic skylights and enclosures, such as the Rooftop Bar at the Refinery Hotel in New York NY (which achieved the #1 ranking in the 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Hotel Rooftop Bar 2015); the Rooftop XP at Hyatt House in Jersey City NJ; Ballpark Village in St. Louis MO; Restoration Hardware’s “RH Gallery” courtyard in Chicago IL; and Pizza Express in Jersey Isle UK.

Aquatic venues include; Zehnders Splash Village Waterpark in Frankenmuth MI and Epic Waters Waterpark in Grand Prairie TX; the award winning Plunge at FIT – Belmont Park in San Diego CA; Kalahari Resorts Waterpark, Poconos PA; Water Palace at Luzhniki Olympic Park, Moscow Russia.

To learn more about OpenAire Inc., visit and follow us on Twitter. To discuss any projects, please e-mail

CE Course Link:

Host Nancy Patterson can be reached at:

For more information contact:

TF: 855-426-9208

logoIN PARTNERSHIP WITH SCX Special Projects

OpenAire, the world’s leading retractable roof specialists and kinetic engineering firm SCX Special Projects, have partnered to create solutions that will transform outdoor areas into flexible, attractive and innovative spaces.

COVID-19 has hit the entertainment and leisure sectors hard. Indoor venue capacities will remain reduced for a while to come and consumer confidence in busy public places will be slow to recover.

People will seek out safer public-private places to meet and venues with natural ventilation, daylight, and smart design will be in demand.

Wimbledon No.1 Court Retractable Roof

Wimbledon No.1 Court Retractable Roof

OpenAire and SCX Special Projects combine their skills to create covered areas that transform from stylish indoor spaces to airy outdoor venues. Elements such as retractable roofs, skylights, and bi-folding doors will blend with industry-leading control and automation to deliver a moving structure that opens and closes at the push of a button.

Attractive outdoor spaces have always been a valuable asset, but now they can play a significant role in the sector's recovery. Bars, restaurants, hotels, and clubs with existing outdoor spaces have an opportunity to create an attractive, differentiated, and socially-distanced venue.

Previously under-utilized outdoor areas can be made into lucrative multi-use venues, giving customers the confidence to visit, while offering new flexibility in layout and usage.

Wael Atassi, Commercial Director at OpenAire adds:

“We have created retractable roofs on all scales – from small private residences to hotels and restaurants, to huge shopping malls and waterparks. The aim is always the same: to create an indoor space that can quickly transform into an attractive open-air venue.”

Danny Pickard, Projects Director at SCX Special Projects says:

“People usually turn to SCX Special Projects to solve significant mechanical handling projects. However, our expertise translates to all kinds of moving structures, of all sizes, and especially those that need to move in public spaces where safety is a primary concern.”

OpenAire, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, has designed and built thousands of retractable roofs around the globe. It has led the market in developing advanced glass and metal structures that bring the outdoors into indoor spaces.

Award-winning SCX Special Projects, based in Sheffield, United Kingdom, has gained global recognition for its works on large-scale moving structures. Its work includes the iconic concertina roofs at Wimbledon and the world’s first dividing retractable soccer stadium at Tottenham Hotspur.

The two businesses first crossed paths in 2018 on a retractable roof project in the Middle East. Together, they bring more than 60 years of experience to the partnership, which aims to give outdoor spaces a new lease of life in a post-COVID-19 world.

View our brochure on Issuu

Openaire SXC Partnership Brochure

For more information contact:

TF: 855-426-9208

All of OpenAire's indoor waterparks around the USA are open. Only our indoor park in Canada remains closed as of  July 06, 2020

This is compared to about 66% of public and private indoor parks across the US who have re-opened so far. (per June 25, 2020 Hotel and Leisure Advisors Update)

From: Hotel and Leisure Advisors:

U.S. Waterparks Updates June 25, 2020

"The current COVID-19 crisis is having a significant negative effect on the waterpark industry. Many parks have delayed their season openings while others have decided, or been mandated, not to open in 2020 at all. With the largest database of waterparks and waterpark resorts across North America, H&LA is tracking the closings of waterparks across all segments. We began tracking the impact of COVID-19 on May 14th and will update this information a final time on July 9 as we track the most accurate data regarding the state of the industry in 2020. Our data is confirmed via online or property-level sources and is the latest data available as of the date of publication.

HotelLeisureAdvisors 06252020 02

Indoor Waterparks:
We have researched or called every standalone indoor waterpark and indoor waterpark resort in the United States to determine their open status as of June 25, 2020. Some indoor waterpark resorts remain open for lodging, but their waterparks are closed. For our analysis, we considered these properties as closed.

Since our May 14th update, the number of open indoor waterparks has increased significantly.  Nearly two-thirds of this segment is currently open.

HotelLeisureAdvisors 06252020 01
For questions about H&LA’s research or to inquire about hospitality consulting services, please contact Heidi Banak, 216-228-7000, extension 14; or David Sangree, MAI, CPA, ISHC, 216-810-5800;


Americana Conference Resort and Spa
Niagara Falls CANADA
Open Awaiting Province regulations for date

Big Splash
French Lick, IN
Open June 14, 2020

Epic Waters
Grand Prairie, TX
Open May 29, 2020

Pirates Cay Waterpark (Holiday Inn Club Vacations® Fox River Resort)
Sheridan, IL
Open June 15, 2020 resorts/fox-river-resort

Kalahari Resorts Poconos Mountains
Pocono Manor, PA
Open June 12, 2020

Pump House Waterpark
Jay Peak, VT
Open July 01, 2020 Surfing only

Raptor Reef Indoor Waterpark
Triple Play Resort Hotel & Suites, Hayden, ID

Open May 16, 2020

Water-Zoo Waterpark
Clinton, OK
Open May 22, 2020

Watiki Waterpark
Rapid City, SD
Open May 22, 2020

Silverleaf Waterpark at the Villages
(Holiday Inn Club Vacations®)
Tyler, TX
Open June 11, 2020 resorts/villages-resort

Zehnders Splash Village Waterpark and Resort
Frankenmuth, MI
Open July 01, 2020

Any facility that is indoor and aquatic has to be built properly. The repercussions of poor construction can be structural building failure (there are several reported cases buildings collapsing), corrosion, and constant maintenance. Space needs to be safe and healthy for guests and staff.

Waterparks have additional concerns due to the extreme volume of splashing and moisture in the air, but regardless all indoor aquatic centers have to carefully consider the building envelope before they build, so the long term costs of continued maintenance don’t break the bank.

Traditionally aquatic centers are built in large-span steel structures with concrete or metal and more recently glass infills/walls. Times have changed. If you are planning to build an indoor pool or aquatic center of any kind. Here is what you need to know:

Primary Building Envelope Key Issues/Concerns:

  1. Indoor pools are moist, damp, warm environments, with poor air quality, large volumes of people, and if there are slides, splash pads, and spas; there is extensive splashing and spray.
  2. The air in a natatorium often contains nearly 3x the moisture per unit volume as a typical, non-humidified building. Waterparks are worse.
  3. Chlorine remains the primary disinfectant used to sanitize pools. Chloramines are gases that form as a disinfectant by-product of chlorination and hover above the water surface impacting guests and staff. Chloramines are toxic. They cause corrosion, irritate skin and eyes and are a known respiratory health hazard to swimmers, lifeguards and other pool occupants.1
  4. Indoor pools are guided by the guidelines set out by ASHRAE 62.1. CDC Report says typical ASHRAE 6.1 standards are not enough in a large voluminous space where water is splashed and spread differently than in a more typical pool.2
  5. Natatorium investigation reports almost always cite “improper design/construction of the vapor retarder” as a primary cause of moisture problems3
  6. Exterior environmental/climate-related corrosion is also a factor, specifically in coastal locations.
  7. Several structural failures over pools have led to the sudden collapse of ceilings, along with deaths and injuries. The cause was chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking (SCC).4

So what should you do to prevent some of these issues?
Build with Aluminum.

Aluminum Building:

Retractable Aluminum Building Per OpenAire:

Polycarbonate Roof, Glass Walls, Aluminum Structure

1. Material

2. Corrosion/Rust

3. Painted finish

4. Hardware

5. Retractable Roof

6. Motorized Pivot Windows

7. Glazed Building envelope

8. Maintenance

9. Building Operating Costs

10. Warranty

11. Installation by OpenAire

12. Industry Expertise

Steel Building:

Fixed Steel Building per Pre-Engineered Structure:

Steel Roof, Steel Walls, Steel Structure

1. Material

2. Corrosion/Rust

3. Painted Finish

4. Hardware

5. Fixed Roof

6. Windows (Type TBD)

7. Opaque Building Envelope

8. Maintenance

9. Building Operating Costs


11.Installation by third party

12. Industry Expertise

OpenAire has had the pleasure of building aquatic centers around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional indoor natatoriums. Our aluminum retractable roof enclosures cover commercial pools from spas to retirement communities, to municipal parks and recreation facilities, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, to hotels, cruise ships and private Health Clubs. We also have an extensive portfolio of waterparks.

No matter what the sector is, the issues around corrosion for indoor pools are the same.

For expanded portfolios of projects in all sectors, please reach out and contact us to see how we can support your future aquatic center dreams, or assist in modifying your existing facility to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.

1. Ventilation Requirements For Indoor Pools, Gary Lochner , ASHRAE Journal JULY 2017,

2. CDC Workplace Safety and Health; Investigation of Employee Symptoms at an Indoor Waterpark, Lilia Chen MS, Health Hazard Evaluation Report HETA 2007-0163-3062, Great Wolf Lodge, Mason, Ohio, June 2008

3. Avoiding Problems in Aquatics Facilities: Atypical design for atypical buildings, Construction Specifier December 25, 2013, Jason S. Der Ananian, PE, and Sean M. O’Brien, PE, LEED AP, buildings/

4. A Corrosive Environment; Aquatics International Magazine, September 01,2011, Dave Schwartz, P.E,


6. Daylighting, Gregg D. Ander, FAIA, Southern California Edison, Updated by U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Updated: 09-15-2016,

7. The Benefits of Natural Light: Research supports daylighting’s positive effect on building performance and
human health. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg.; March 19, 2014.



10. Closed environments facilitate secondary transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Hiroshi Nishiura, Hitoshi Oshitani, Tetsuro Kobayashi, Tomoya Saito, Tomimasa Sunagawa, Tamano Matsui, Takaji Wakita, MHLW COVID-19 Response Team, Motoi Suzuki, medRxiv 2020.02.28.20029272; doi: 10.1101/2020.02.28.20029272

Designing for the “new normal”

During a global pandemic, business and building operators, owners and real estate asset managers of all types of commercial facilities are wondering where do we go from here OpenAire Blog CommercialArchitecturePatio

You may be asking yourself questions like:

“When do we open up”

“What changes do we need to make to open in the future?”

“How are we going to make the new “normal” financially viable?”

Business teams, worldwide, are now actively discussing how to address these very issues and trying to assess where a pivot will be necessary.

Whether you run, own, operate, or have in your portfolio restaurants, recreation centers, health clubs, hotels, or any other commercial space where a volume of people gather, there are now health and safety concerns to address. If your facility is a seniors home or other space with vulnerable guests, this is even more critical.

History as a guide for the future.

Pandemics of the past have, guided us in the design of city planning and modern infrastructure development (ie. the design of sanitary systems). Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic seems primed to inform future design issues, most notably natural ventilation strategies. Investigation natural ventilation strategies started post SARS after the 2003 epidemic and has been brought back to the forefront in 2020. From here on out, new standards aren’t temporary, they’re rewriting the future of health & building codes.

Locally mandated social distancing and capacity guidelines will be a key part of every businesses’ reopening plans. This includes things like mandated PPE (personal protection equipment) and controlled volume of patrons. But what about the space that they are in? What might need to be changed now, and the future?

OpenAire Blog CommercialArchitecture Malls

As we all now know - times have changed, likely forever. Will a restaurant or gym that was “totally fine” last year be one that can generate the traffic needed to survive when patrons are nervous about being in close proximity to others? What are the items to consider as part of emerging design and renovation for buildings worldwide? What can we look at now when considering re-opening and for the future should another pandemic occur?

OpenAire Blog CommercialArchitecture Patio

Here are a few things that come to mind:

1) Cleanliness & Materials: Global public health strategies now include frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects that are touched by multiple people, this is important to reduce the spread of infection. Easily cleanable materials are recommended.1 The CDC states:

Another way to reduce the risk of exposure is to make long-term changes to practices and procedures. These could include reducing the use of porous materials used for seating, leaving some doors open to reduce touching by multiple people, opening windows to improve ventilation, or removing objects in your common areas.2

2) Ventilation: During this pandemic, perhaps more than ever, natural ventilation and the use of fresh air are recommended to reduce the spread of airborne viruses.3 While there is little evidence that ventilation directly reduces the risk of disease transmission, many studies suggest that insufficient ventilation increases disease transmission.4 The WHO (World Health Organization) has extensive material about the benefits of natural ventilation in health care that can be applied to the commercial sector.

Increasing ventilation rate is believed to reduce the cross-infection of airborne transmitted diseases by removing or diluting pathogen-laden airborne droplet nuclei. A higher ventilation rate can dilute the contaminated air inside the space more rapidly and decrease the risk of cross-infection. Natural ventilation is able to deliver large ventilation rates with a low energy consumption. Compared with mechanical ventilation, natural ventilation can provide much higher ventilation rates.5

3) Daylight: There is undeniable evidence that day-lit spaces hold the potential to yield substantial benefits, including increased energy savings, increased revenue in retail applications, and improvements to human health and productivity.6 While the science isn’t precise, it’s clear that daylight affects our mood, our behavior and our productivity. It is therefore mandated by global building codes:

Daylighting is the controlled admission of natural light, direct sunlight, and diffused-skylight into a building to reduce electric lighting and saving energy. By providing a direct link to the dynamic and perpetually evolving patterns of outdoor illumination, daylighting helps create a visually stimulating and productive environment for building occupants, while reducing as much as one- third of total building energy costs.7

OpenAire Blog CommercialArchitecture DiningSo where do you go from here?

We can’t tear all the buildings down and start over, so what do we do?

Cities worldwide are closing streets and using them to encourage gathering and yet maintain social distances. We have all seen the photos of streets covered in tables that separate restaurant patrons.8 While this is fun during the summer and in warmer climates where vehicular traffic volumes are low, what do we do next?

OpenAire Blog CommercialArchitecture OutdoorDining

Owners need to look at their spaces and assess what materials may need to change or be updated to ensure that cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces can be maintained. There are of course illumination and sound issues to contend with when porous materials are removed, so some additional baffling and other sound protection devices may need to be employed in areas beyond public contact.

Per the experts, using natural ventilation saves owners money and allows business owners to provide guests and staff with a safer and healthier environment which may enable the reduced risk of virus transmission. So now might be the time to look at the walls and roof of your facility and see how they can be opened up. It is clear that the size of the openings matters, in other words, the bigger the better. Operable walls and roofs can be added onto new or existing (including historic) facilities. Now is the time to investigate what options for this can be explored.

OpenAire Blog CommercialArchitecture NightNew studies demonstrate the correlation between the transmission of COVID-19 in closed environments vs. open air circulation. In a recent Japan study, the odds of a primary case transmitting COVID-19 in a closed environment was 18.7x greater compared to an open-air environment.9

The big benefit of adding large oversized skylights and operable walls is the increased daylight. Going forward you can expect to be able to reduce your reliance on and cost for artificial lighting.

This is a win-win for business owners, who can attract people more easily into a space that lets the outdoors in.

Fresh Air is back.

This pandemic highlights that facilities that have already implemented these trends are in fact, ahead of the curve. Ironically, natural ventilation was the main driver of architectural design before it was replaced with mechanical systems in the 20th century. Traditional buildings had a variety of shapes and layouts to promote ventilation by cross-breeze, stacking, wind towers, atriums, chimneys and more. Studies of “old” buildings with high ceilings and large windows for natural ventilation, show that they have greater ventilation than modern rooms of the same type.10

It seems clear now, in hindsight, that while businesses remain closed, and only outdoor spaces are open, that we need to relook at buildings and how we design them. How can we turn the indoors to outdoors and vice versa? Gathering of ‘at risk’ groups will depend on the creative thinking of designers worldwide. Creating spaces that can transform and that can also meet the needs of northern climate weather patterns.

OpenAire Blog CommercialArchitecture BeachArchitecture isn't static. Designers worldwide are already back at the drawing board to look at ventilation models that use fresh air, easier to clean spaces and more daylight. Building codes that prevented enclosure of patios due to lot coverage may need to be revised. A bright ventilated yet enclosed patio may now be the “best” seat in the house. These are just some of the first of a few steps we will need to take to transform our spaces into ones that are safer and healthier for us all.
OpenAire has had the pleasure of building retractable roof enclosures and skylights and oversized motorized walls around the globe, challenging the stereotypes of traditional buildings and meeting the needs of global energy codes worldwide. Our mutual goal is always to help our clients lead the way in creating enjoyable, practical and beautiful spaces, making custom solutions to suit their exact spaces and needs.

With almost 1000 global projects, OpenAire is pleased to have projects in health clubs, restaurants, hotels, senior living, eduction, transport, retail & shopping. We have worked with both the public and private sector and have extensive work with the not for profit community, ie the YMCA.
Contact us to see how we can support your vision, or assist in modifying your existing building to accommodate the future of improved daylight, hygiene, ventilation, and cleanliness.


1 CDC Workplace Safety and Health; Investigation of Employee Symptoms at an Indoor Waterpark, Lilia Chen MS, Health Hazard Evaluation Report HETA 2007-0163-3062, Great Wolf Lodge, Mason, Ohio, June 2008.

2 Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes, May 7, 2020, Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases,

3 Study: Restaurant Outbreak In China Suggests Limits To Airborne Transmission of COVID-19, 22 APRIL 2020, SF NEWS, Jay Barmann,

4 WHO; Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings, Edited by: James Atkinson, Yves Chartier, Carmen Lúcia Pessoa-Silva, Paul Jensen, Yuguo Li and Wing-Hong Seto, ISBN 978 92 4 154785 7 (NLM classification:WX 167), © World Health Organization 2009

5 Ventilation control for airborne transmission of human exhaled bio-aerosols in buildings, Hua Qian, Xiaohong Zheng, School of Energy and Environment, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China, 10.21037/jtd.2018.01.24

6 The Benefits of Natural Light: Research supports daylighting’s positive effect on building performance and human health. Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg.; March 19, 2014

7 Daylighting, Gregg D. Ander, FAIA, Southern California Edison, Updated by U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Updated: 09-15-2016,


9 Closed environments facilitate secondary transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Hiroshi Nishiura, Hitoshi Oshitani, Tetsuro Kobayashi, Tomoya Saito, Tomimasa Sunagawa, Tamano Matsui, Takaji Wakita, MHLW COVID-19 Response Team, Motoi Suzuki, medRxiv 2020.02.28.20029272; doi: 10.1101/2020.02.28.20029272,

10 WHO; Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings, Edited by: James Atkinson, Yves Chartier, Carmen Lúcia Pessoa-Silva, Paul Jensen, Yuguo Li and Wing-Hong Seto, ISBN 978 92 4 154785 7 (NLM classification:WX 167), © World Health Organization 2009[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]