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Birdair, Inc. Completes Haddad Riverfront Park Project

Birdair, Inc. Completes Haddad Riverfront Park Project

Fabric Membrane Canopies Provide Shelter For West Virginia Park’s Stage, Seating and Pavilion

Published: July 27, 2010

Visitors to Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, WV, are now greeted by three fiberglass fabric membrane roof and façade cladding systems from Birdair, Inc., the leading specialty contractor of lightweight long-span roofing systems and tensile structures throughout the world.

The systems include a retractable fabric canopy over the park’s existing seating area, a steel and fabric roof for the park’s new permanent stage and a canopy covering a new pavilion overlooking the Kanawha River. As the project’s design-build roofing subcontractor, Birdair constructed the TiO-coated PTFE (polytetrafluoroeethylene, or Teflon) fabric membrane canopies.

The new Schoenbaum Stage is the primary venue for the West Virginia Symphony and hosts various other forms of entertainment as well. The stage was designed to resemble the traditional stern-wheeler steamboat used on the Kanawha River throughout Charleston’s history. The look of the steel arches that support the fabric roof and steel were inspired by the paddleboat wheel.

Spectators are covered by a 35-foot by 80-foot retractable fabric panel that is electromechanically operated. In the past, the concrete seating area absorbed heat throughout the day, making it uncomfortable for spectators. Now, the new panel reflects heat to improve occupant comfort and retracts to allow visitors to view fireworks displays during the City of Charleston’s Friday night concert series.

Since Haddad Riverfront Park is prone to flooding, the project required a material that was extremely durable and weather resistant. PTFE coated woven fiberglass membrane is capable of withstanding temperatures from -100°F to +450°F, is immune to UV rays, waterproof, and flame resistant.

What makes the TiO-coated PTFE material an exciting product is its unique titanium dioxide coating with self-cleaning benefits, breaking down dirt and other organic materials through a chemical reaction with the sun’s UV rays, oxygen and water vapor, present in the air. 

This reaction, known as oxidation-reduction, converts these materials into harmless gases and natural components without using excess chemicals, solvents or water. The resulting sediments are simply washed away by rain. As a result, the membrane material remains bright and clean, reducing the need for frequent maintenance.

The translucency of the fabric membrane allows it to perform solar shading while permitting natural light to filter through, offering protection from adverse weather conditions for both audience members and performers.

“The TiO2-coated PTFE specified for the fabric canopies at Haddad Riverfront Park provides a winning combination of functional benefits and unparalleled visual appeal,” says Michael Grant, Birdair project manager. “The city and the architect are all very pleased with the end result and report record attendance at park events since the project’s completion.”

Constructed 20 years ago, Haddad Riverfront Park features an amphitheater, boat docking and benches along the Kanawha River in downtown Charleston. The park offers recreational activities and hosts special events for residents and visitors.

The park’s renovations began in spring 2010 and were completed in summer 2010. In addition to Birdair, the project team consisted of architect Silling Associates, Charleston, WV and engineer GAI Consultants, Charleston, WV.

The project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding should not be construed as an endorsement of products, opinions or services. All SBA-funded projects are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. 

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About Birdair: Birdair, Inc. is the leading specialty contractor of custom tensile structures throughout the world. In addition to pre-construction services such as design assistance, budgeting, construction methodologies and project scheduling, Birdair provides design-build solutions in all aspects of project design, engineering, installation and maintenance. The company offers a selection of architectural fabric membranes, including PTFE fiberglass, ETFE film, PVC and Tensotherm™. Birdair, based in Buffalo, NY, is a member of the Taiyo Kogyo Group, with operations serving North and South America and other international locations. For more information about Birdair, like us on Facebook, call 1-800-622-2246 or visit www.birdair.com.