Interesting Roofs: Retractable Roofs

Football season is upon us and while roofing and football may have little in common, it is undeniable that a roof can make a difference in a football game, especially during times of chaotic weather. While watching a game in heavy snow or rain can be very entertaining, the truth of the matter is that weather often has negative effects that both teams and fans would like to avoid. In these cases, solutions such as retractable roofs are put into play (pardon the pun).

A retractable roof is a kinetic, architectural element in which a roof, made up of suitable materials, can readily be retracted to a closed or extended into an open position mechanically whenever needed. They are generally constructed in locales where inclement weather, extreme heat or cold are prevalent during the season. Retractable roofs allow for the playing of traditionally outdoor sports (such as football) in more favorable conditions as well as the comfort of spectators. Heavy rains or snow? No problem, close the roof. The game is still on. Super sunny and nice today? Open it up, let’s play outside!

Another benefit of retractable roofs is allowing natural grass to be used in cities with extreme hot or cold temperatures would otherwise make installation and maintenance of natural grass cost prohibitive.

Retractable roofs are used in 4 out of the 31 NFL stadiums in the United States. Cowboys Stadium, completed in 2009, is the largest with 680,000 square feet. However, retractable roofs are not limited to stadiums, they are also used in residences, commercial buildings and places like swim centers and other places with overhead enclosures. Currently, another contender for the largest retractable roof is being planned for a restaurant in Minneapolis to be opened later this year.

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