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Shade Galore:
Giving Shelter to Playgrounds

City of Des Moines Aquatic Complex

By Alan Bayman, Shade Systems, Inc.

With an in-ground bury-footing design and some clever mounting pods created by city engineers, the city of Des Moines installed shades directly in the swimming pools to protect those swimming or playing in the pools from overexposure to the sun.

Des Moines, Iowa has purchased and installed nine of our shade products at the city's Aquatic Complex. In a proactive step to protect its residents at the aquatic complex from the summer sun's dangerous U.V. rays, the city's parks and recreation and engineering staff selected our shade systems over competing manufacturers to supply shade structures in a variety of shapes and colors.

While city staff recognized the products are topped with its CoolNet polyethylene fabric which screens out up to 95% of the sun's harmful U.V. rays, the challenge facing city professionals was how to provide protective shade to residents who were swimming in the pools, especially toddlers using the shallow pools. In conjunction with our in-ground , bury-footing designs, and some clever mounting pods created by city engineers, Des Moines was able to install the shades directly in the swimming pools. This way, even those swimming or playing in the pools would be protected from overexposure to the sun.

The project was specified and managed by the Des Moines engineering department.

Another challenge facing city staff was the removal of the fabric canopies for the winter season. Reviewing the shade products available on the market, the city chose the Turn-n-Slide easy canopy removal and re-attachment system, which is built right into the roof frames and allows the city staff to quickly remove the canopies for the winter. No special tools or costly outside installers are necessary, and this extends the life of the fabric by avoiding exposure to damaging snow loads and winter storms.

The CoolNet polyethylene fabric screens out up to 95% of the sun's harmful UV rays.

After the installation was complete, Jeff Hansen, project engineer for Des Moines commented, "I think you have a very nice product. They go up easily. I like the powder-coated finish and that they are galvanized. I like your system for putting the canopies on. They look great!"

Samueli Jewish Campus in Irvine, Calif.

By Don Crenshaw, Shade Sails, LLC

Blazing sun, a balmy breeze, sailboats slipping along sparkling water--you could be in Australia or perhaps California, where a new import from down under is bringing the sails, but not the blazing sun, into playgrounds, patios, schools and malls.

Shade Sails, aptly named for their sail-like shapes and shade-providing function, are tensioned fabric that can be twisted, overlapped and angled into a virtually limitless array of soaring forms. One small sail may provide a subtle architectural accent over a household entry or window. A series of large, overlapping sails may expand over an open area in a commercial structure or provide shaded shelter around playgrounds and parks.

These tensioned fabric membranes can be attached to existing structures or to their own posts or columns. Sewn into the edges is reinforcement webbing. At each corner is a stainless steel ring for attachment, after which the ring is welded shut.

Shades are available in a variety of colors and are made of a high-density, UV-resistant polyethylene knit fabric. Tensioning is achieved with stainless-steel cable sewn into the perimeter of each sail and attached to existing structures or free-standing supports. When installed, the sails are taut and can resist virtually any wind condition.

At Samueli Jewish Campus in Irvine, Calif., the shades provide protection around the play equipment. The free-form style made of varying shapes and sizes provide areas of shade without interfering with the playground equipment and their associated fall zones. Because there are no large obtrusive structural elements they have a playful airy look that adds to the ambiance.

In this application the landscape architect, Arash Izadi, from LPA was concerned that shade was provided in and around the play area but did not interfere with or come too close to the play equipment. Three-dimensional drawings were commissioned to study the aesthetics and clearances. The end product is a successful blend of sculptural forms that provide shade on and around an otherwise very exposed play area. These sculptural forms provide sun protection but without making it feel as though indoors or enclosed.

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December 14, 2019, 7:41 am PDT

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