University of Arizona Rooftop Shade Structure

Cambridge Architectural

Metal fabric and a modified attachment system were among the products used to create a unique shade structure for the rooftop courtyard at the University of Arizona’s newly constructed Medical Research and Thomas Keating Bioresearch buildings.

The pair of seven-story buildings, located on the school’s main campus in Tucson, are connected to one another on floors one through five. The courtyard is located on the shared rooftop space while the shade structure overhead is connected to the taller rooftops on either side.

The shade structure was designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership of Los Angeles, CA. To span the 180’ distance between the taller rooftops, the firm used a series of 24’-deep trusses, each weighing approximately 40,000 lbs. It then suspended from them 240 Solar pattern stainless steel fabric panels. Measuring 4’ wide and up to 37’ long, with a 43% open area, they were manufactured by Cambridge Architectural of Cambridge, MD. They were mounted using a modified version of the company’s Railway attachment method.

The buildings were constructed in 2006. Hensel Phelps Construction Co., Tucson, was the general contractor. The mesh fabric panels were installed by T.A. Caid Industries, also of Tucson.

About Cambridge Architectural

Cambridge Architectural is a full-service provider of architectural metal mesh systems for both interior and exterior building applications. For more information, visit

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