This large retractable roof has apparently set a number of world firsts, since it features such enormous panes of glass laid flat – additionally, the supporting spars for the blade frame roof elements are only 25mm thick and are formed in tapering arches with only 100mm of chord depth at the tips.
Just nine panes of glass seem to float delightfully over the courtyard of a country house and glide open as required.
In a further ground-breaking step, the opening nature of the roof allowed the client team to enclose an area that fire officers had deemed must remain an ‘outside zone’, in order for the building to meet regulatory standards. The automation is fully integrated with the fire alarm, and, should it receive an alarm signal from the alarm panel, the roof will open at high speed (in approximately 45 seconds) in order to restore the courtyard area to the status of an ‘outside space.’
This particularly elegant bi-parting roof therefore now allows the large courtyard space to be used year round, providing a warm, light-filled, welcoming area that can be opened up into an outdoor area as desired. This enclosing of the previously open core to the entire building has revolutionised the way the entire ground floor of the house can be used.
The roof is installed on a listed building, and so had to be completed with very close and exacting attention to detail. meia assisted the design team in obtaining the required permissions and worked sympathetically with the building to enhance and improve it.
The roof elements are lightly curved to ensure suitable water run-off and to create an elegant profile. Our bespoke design approach allows us to create an installation that is an enhancement to the building, in the style preferred by the customer.
After extensive discussion and concept design research with the client team, meia presented multiple options over a wide price range. The design ultimately selected has just nine, vast, double-glazed units supported by the tapering arch blade framing.
Our use of marine-grade stainless steel throughout allows us to create long-lasting beauty of the highest quality; for life span, performance and elegance.
The specific layout of the existing building was carefully studied so that we could design a roof with the maximum possible opening space, which at the same time has minimal impact visually when closed. The latter concern is of high importance to the conservation groups protecting the building’s long-term future.
Despite the size of the roof and its 13,500kg of moving mass, it opens in approximately 60 seconds; the drive components are additionally fitted with a battery-operated, fully ‘redundant’ secondary drive system, to ensure continuous smooth operation even in the event of power or primary system failure.
Fitting such elegance is no simple task, and involved fabricating all the frames off-site and delivering them by means of escorted night-time delivery vehicles, then by special low-lift cranes to avoid damage to the surrounding trees. Because of the complex logistics, delivery via helicopter was a seriously considered solution.