Canopies have many purposes- to invite, to advertise, to stimulate, and to protect. Here are a few common uses for canopies.
Restaurant and cafe canopies:
Canopies on the outside of shops, restaurants, hotels and pubs not only have the ability to create a grand entrance, but they can become the signature of your brand. The green awnings outside of Harrods for instance, are a trademark of the building. Designed in the store’s colours, the canopies are the very essence of Harrods.
The concept of advertising on awnings isn’t limited to the names of shops, restaurants and hotels. At restaurants and bars especially, the owners will often advertise a brand of alcohol or another product. This is a form of outdoor advertising, that doesn’t have to be expensive and is very effective.
Occasionally, we have the privilege of seeing some really cool and creative canopies. One example is an inflatable roof canopy. The Dutch collective known as the Overtreders W. built an inflatable canopy dubbed The Roof That Goes Up in Smoke. It is an illuminated pillow that sits on wooden poles and is inflated by a wood stove. Picnic tables sit underneath it where guests can enjoy an outdoor meal or drink.
Another famous creative canopy design is Foster and Partners expansion of the Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan. Amongst their architectural objectives was to build something sustainable. Inspired by palm trees, the roof is made up of canopies that shield from the sun while generating renewable energy. The physical design though actually looks like palm trees, or a bird with its wings spread.
The Roof canopy on the British Museum is another architectural spectacle. When the room’s former bookstacks were moved to the British Library in 1997 there was an opportunity to reopen the space to the public. A competition was held over what to do with the new space and over 130 entries were submitted. Ultimately it was Lord Foster who won. The canopy was designed and installed by computer. It was constructed out of 3,312 unique pieces of glass.
Having shaded areas on a school campus is not only a good idea, it’s a necessity. It is quite common for schools to have canopies extending from the side of the building. This is also helpful for keeping the building cool in hot summer months without having to waste too much energy keeping the air conditioning on.
Of course, landscape architects can go one step further and build free-standing shelters on the premises. This is a great thing to have for conducting outdoor classes or hosting outdoor events.
There you have it, some practical and creative uses for a canopy.