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Bal Harbour Shops

The Epitome of Luxury, at the Push of a Button

AS_Architecture_Exterior_Bal Harbour 03

A Q&A with Peter Fervoy

– Vice President, Uni-Systems, LLC

When adapting an inner courtyard and event space, the owners of the prestigious Bal Harbour Shops had high expectations.


After all, the Miami Beach open-air shopping mall has the highest sales per square foot of any shopping center in the world. And so, the En-Fold retractable fabric roofing system with SEFAR Architecture TENARA Fabric was chosen because it was unrivaled in look, functionality and resiliency.

Peter Fervoy, Vice President of Uni-Systems, LLC, the manufacturer of En-Fold, gives us a detailed account of this high-profile project:

What were the specifications of this retractable roofing system?


The owners specified a fully-mechanized retractable canopy to cover an event/transitional passage in the inner courtyard of the luxury shopping center. It is a belt drive system, with five drive beams moving the TENARA Fabric panels precisely in parallel tracks to prevent any racking or binding across the 81-foot wide canopy.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?


Bal Harbour Shops is an esteemed, upscale shopping center and considered the highest-performing mall in the world in sales per square foot. To maintain their market hold on retail sales, Bal Harbour Shops requested a retractable shade canopy over the mall’s inner open-air courtyard, a programmed event space that connects the shops with an adjacent multilevel parking/office structure. It was expected that a retractable canopy could help adapt the space to more active and revenue-generating functions such as fashion shows, concerts and special events.

What is unique or complex about the project?


Bal Harbour Shops’ retractable canopy is unusual for its extreme width. At 81’4” wide, the En-Fold canopy uses five patent-pending drive beams to maintain accurate and parallel tracking of the fabric panels to cover the 52-foot span when fully extended. Although the fabric panels that comprise the 4,107 square foot canopy are quite wide and flat, the canopy is canted at a gentle slope in the transverse direction to provide adequate drainage and to prevent ponding. The white TENARA Fabric 4T40HF (woven ePTFE) can withstand a 30 psf wind load when fully tensioned by the drive beams. The overall assembly is designed to endure 90 mph wind speeds.

What were the results of the project?


The En-Fold retractable canopy with TENARA Fabric transforms the outdoor courtyard into a more actively utilized space, providing a consistently reliable and comfortable setting that protects guests from inclement weather or harsh sunlight.