Today’s fabric awnings add movement, color, and just the right amount of protection from the sun

Queen City Awning Retractable Awning

Queen City Awning Retractable Awning

A fabric awning is one of my favorite architectural elements. These awnings have so many terrific qualities. They are kinetic, so not only can they be raised and lowered but they will move with the wind much like sails do. They add spots of bright, exciting color to any building. And fabric awnings have an impermanent and transient quality that plays nicely against the solidity and stiffness of a building. It’s like the awnings are the soft counterbalance to a building’s hard structure.

And what’s really cool (pun intended) about fabric awnings is that they were born out of a need to control the amount of sunlight entering a window. By shading the window during the hot summer months when the sun is highest in the sky, an awning keeps the interior cooler and more comfortable. This saves energy and money. So from a simple and humble technical problem that needed a technical solution, fabric awnings developed into wonderfully decorative and functional objects.

Big and bold, awnings today reflect new technologies, materials and design sensibilities.

Article by: Bud Dietrich, AIA, Featured in: