This En‐Fold retractable canopy covers a courtyard and dining area of a historic hotel in the heart of Cartagena, Columbia, South America. The client requested retractable weather protection for an open‐air, five‐story high courtyard space that needed to be more fully utilized. Inclement weather prevents full use of the space on a regular basis.
Cartagena is an old city founded in the 1500s by the Spanish. The site of the project lies
within historic walls, (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the walls could not
be breached by large construction cranes. All materials had to be unloaded from their
shipping container outside the city walls, necessitating the unusual practice of delivering
heavy equipment by hand: crews up to 12 men carried and wheeled long beams through
the gates of the historic wall to the hotel and through the front lobby to the courtyard.
The prime challenge was the irregular shape of the courtyard: no two walls are parallel or
the same length, no wall straight. The courtyard measures roughly 46 feet deep by 74 feet
wide, but depth varies from one end to the other. Hence, each of the En‐Fold canopy’s four
drive beams is a different length and a trapezoidal fabric panel was created to fit the oddly
As no crane access was allowed within the city walls, all hoisting to install the drive beams
at the fifth floor parapet level had to be done with custom‐built roofer’s derricks and hand-operated
The successfully completed project has pleased the owner with its performance and
appearance, and the courtyard now serves three meals a day without interruption, even
during heavy rains.
Location: Cartagena, Columbia
Completion date: November 2014
Project scope: Design, supply and installation
Client: Charleston Hotel Group
Project engineer: Mayer Structural Design Inc.
Fabric fabricator: Lightweight Manufacturing
- Plan area: 3,287 sq ft
- Design wind load: 20psf
- Unit: En‐Fold retractable canopy
- Extension: ave. 46 ft
- Width: 73‐ft‐10‐in
- Number of drive beams: 4
- Fabric: Sefar Tenara® 4T40