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Custom cover for a beer hall courtyard

Showcase | April 1, 2019 | By:

Rainier Industries was first contacted by the client in August 2018. After several measuring and design iterations, manufacturing w as complete by mid-November, and installation required less than one day. Photos courtesy of Rainier Industries.

Rainier Industries designs and fabricates a custom tent for a courtyard so that beer lovers can congregate through the winter. 

The building at 418 A Street in Springfield, Ore., has served as a place to nourish body and soul for more than one hundred years. Most of those years it accomplished this as a church, but more recently its walls have housed a food incubator and now a combination beer hall, whiskey bar and food court known as the PublicHouse.

When operators wanted to continue nourishing bodies in the outdoor courtyard through the winter—and boost revenue—they turned to Rainier Industries Ltd. of Tukwila, Wash., to design, manufacture and install a solution: a custom clear vinyl, gable-style frame tent that offers weather protection and warmth. 

“The primary technical challenge was fit,” says Dan Dunstan, Western/Central sales with Rainier Industries. “The tent had to fit snugly inside the courtyard to maximize coverage, minimize tent leg interference and allow for guttering and connection to the building to manage rainwater and the temperature. Conversely, it also needed to be loose enough to allow for installation and removal.”

Custom requirements

The courtyard dimensions resulted in the tent footprint being 22 feet 10 inches by 28 feet 8 inches. To align the legs with the arches of the courtyard, the bays were 12 feet 8 inches and 16 feet in length. A leg height of 11 feet was required to clear obstructions and align with features of the existing building. 

“Custom portal braces were designed to ensure appropriate strength for this long-term installation,” Dunstan says. “To get the tent close enough to the building for water drainage and enclosure, one corner of the tent was cantilevered over part of the roof line. We designed and manufactured a custom gable corner connector and utilized our crutch leg bracket to accomplish this.”

Keder tracks were mounted to the building for attachment of fabric gutters to vertical surfaces. Rainier designed custom fabric gutters to manage water runoff and integrate into existing drainage systems, and other filler panels were designed and installed to seal gaps between the tent and the building to contain heated air.

Architectural challenge

The building features alcoves on both sides of the courtyard, and the client wished to include them in the interior space of the tent. This required the design and fabrication of custom walls to seal off the ends of the alcoves. One side was relatively straightforward, in that it was small (door-sized), rectangular and seldom used. Rainier’s solution was to mount keder channel to three sides of the opening and use a two-piece wall with roller wheels at the top to allow for separation of the panel for infrequent access.

“The other alcove was more challenging, in that it was a tall, irregular, pyramidal-shaped opening and would serve as the primary egress point for the courtyard and food court,” Dunstan says. “We used keder channel on the pitched top edge to attach a fabric panel and designed unobtrusive brackets to attach a custom framework that supported wall fabric and our double door system.”

Tent graphics with the PublicHouse’s branding, also supplied by Rainier, were somewhat unusual in that one gable end was printed on both sides for viewing from inside and outside the tent. The other gable end was printed only on the inside, as the other side faced the roofline.  

The position of the graphics on the gables provided visible and effective branding for the PublicHouse from a number of vantage points. Photo courtesy of the PublicHouse.

Early collaboration

Rainier had previously executed a similar project for this client for their outdoor food cart and taproom in Eugene. This time, the client contacted Rainier in August 2018, and production was complete by mid-November, with installation requiring less than one day.

Rainier partners with its rental dealer-customers for tent installations sold to end users, a practice that gives Rainier access to experienced crews and offers dealers revenue in a typically slower time of year as well as ongoing work supporting the end user. In this case, Rainier partnered with Kyle Tegner of Special Occasions, Corvallis, Ore. 

“Due to the challenging space constraints and customization of the tent, we met with Kyle at the jobsite early in the process to discuss installation techniques and how that should influence the design of the tent and alcove enclosures,” Dunstan says. “That upfront collaboration contributed greatly to the successful design and installation.”

Equipment and support by heating solutions provider Flagro USA Inc., Savage, Minn., provided the final touch, resulting in a warm and welcoming space for PublicHouse patrons.

“The client is extremely happy with both the physical tent itself and the immediate impact to [return on investment],” Dunstan says. “Having the additional dry and heated space available is allowing many more customers to enjoy the facility through the winter months and is making the PublicHouse a destination eating and drinking establishment in downtown Springfield and for the surrounding area.” 

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