Retractable Roofing Systems Blend Historic Architecture and New

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OpenAire is sometimes called upon to add retractable roofing systems to historic buildings, thereby blending cutting-edge modern engineering with beautiful, vintage architecture. This is a delicate balancing act that involves the preservation of the existing building while augmenting it both aesthetically and functionally. We are proud to have successfully managed this balance on several occasions. Here are three of our success stories.

1. Restoration Hardware; RH Gallery at Three Arts Club of Chicago

Restoration Hardware Chicago Three Arts Club Skylight

Restoration Hardware Chicago Three Arts Club Skylight

Luxurious, California based home decor furnishing company Restoration Hardware, wanted to develop a new styleof retail which would be an event space, a gallery, a cafe and an interior design studio and lifestyle center. The venue, called RH Gallery, is located inside the historic Three Arts Club, built in 1912, near Michigan Avenue in the heart of Chicago. OpenAire installed a 2,000-square-foot pyramid-shaped glass skylight on the second floor, in the middle of the four story U-shaped building. The skylight is actually set within the three sided tower, and is surrounded by custom OpenAire grates for water run off. While the skylight is actually all aluminum it is detailed to look like a historic steel structure, yet has the modern technology of being waterproof, UV protected and thermally broken so the temperature of the atrium is perfect year round. The skylight includes motorized operable side windows that again look like antique swing windows. Ensuring every detail aligns with the owner's vision. The final result treated the existing structure with the due reverence it deserved while adding new elements of harmony, luxury, and beauty.

2. Boston Pizza

Boston Pizza Toronto Retractable Roof

Boston Pizza Toronto Retractable Roof Shown Closed

Canada’s largest, west coast based, suburban casual dining restaurant chain chose a historic building in downtown Toronto as the basis for a second prototype for their new Urban Boston Pizza. These new locations are urban, hip sports bars geared to attracting younger city dwellers. As the second of this type of restaurant in Toronto they chose a location near the downton Ryerson University campus. The new restaurant is a second story facility so the renovation included adding an additional top floor with a customized 1,300-square-foot retractable skylight. Without the traditional parking lot patios of their suburban locations the chain wanted an innovative solution for accessing the outdoors when the weather is good. This enclosure creates an open, outdoor-style atmosphere for patrons to enjoy at any time of the year. The spectacular structure helped to bring a fresh, modern feel to the historic neighborhood and, along with Boston Pizza’s premium menu choices, still draws in the crowds.

3. Barcelona Tavern

Barcelona Tavern YYZ Toronto Retractable Roof

Barcelona Tavern YYZ Retractable Roof Shown Open

Another west coast based restaurant, Barcelona Tavern, opened their first Toronto is based in the heart of Liberty Village. It stands right alongside West Elm, which itself is housed in a historic building. The tavern’s retractable transparent enclosure is anchored on one of West Elm’s vintage red brick walls, placing contemporary and historic right next to each other in a pleasing and acclaimed juxtaposition. 



OpenAire specializes in the design and construction of skylights for shopping malls and other retail facilities, as well as retractable roofs for restaurants, sports clubs, and hotels. We have designed and built custom-designed skylights and retractable roofs for several high profile retail projects in North America and abroad. These include Restoration Hardware in Chicago, IL, Old Quebec Street in Guelph, Ontario, and the Sharjah Mall in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. 

Contact us for more information on skylights for retail centers and other applications.

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