Structureworks Fabrication is a nation-wide expert in pergolas of all types. With a growing interest in outdoor rooms, their knowledge and design skills are more in demand than ever. The firm can do it all: from simple, garden-like structures to lavish outdoor living rooms and kitchens, their designs are suited for warm coastal climes, arid desert areas, cool mountainous regions, and everywhere in between. To learn more about evolving trends related to pergolas and outdoor design, we spoke with Structureworks’ Greg Smith. Read on to discover how pergolas can accentuate urban and rural landscapes and to learn why the experts choose Infratech heaters to keep living spaces comfortable in any weather.
Your firm specializes in custom pergola kits that can be designed to accommodate and fit within virtually any outdoor space. What are some of the biggest challenges you have encountered with customizing your product for residential spaces?
We look at every project as an opportunity to do something that we’ve never done before, a structure to create a beautiful al fresco dining room or a covered pergola for an outdoor entertainment center with a television and fireplace. With every space and project being unique, the ability to design a structure that will enhance the lives of those using it is our ultimate goal. After twenty-five years, I’d say we are doing that pretty well.
What have you observed in your two and a half decades long experience relating to outdoor structures and specifically pergolas?
When we started the company pergolas were fairly rare. Small wooden garden trellises were often used as a decorative feature or for supporting plants and vines, but the large pergolas that are built today were basically non-existent in the United States. As pergolas started to grow in popularity they were often made on site from wood. However, these structures needed a lot of maintenance and had a short lifespan due to the materials used. The pergolas and shade structures that we manufacture today are designed to be part of an outdoor lifestyle. They are manufactured from fiberglass, cellular PVC and aluminum. They have a lifespan of over twenty-five years and require little maintenance to keep them looking great.
What current outdoor design trends have influenced your latest designs and customer desires?
Both residential and commercial customers are looking to bring indoor amenities outdoors and our structures provide the perfect framework when building outdoor rooms. People are seeking less traditional designs and opting for more of a clean modern look. With the ability to hide wiring within the components of our structures, infrared heaters, fans, lighting, speakers, televisions and even wifi hotspots are easily added to any outdoor room. Integrated shade canopies are also growing as customers want the ability to adjust the amount of shade and when they want it.
Infratech Comfort heaters are often specified by architects and designers for use in your pergola designs. What about these heaters is conducive to your product?
We really enjoy adding Infratech heaters to our products for two reasons. The Slimline Series heaters offer a non-intrusive low profile with a refined aesthetic which allows them to blend with so many different designs. Secondly, since all of our products are shipped in kit form, Infratech heaters fit with our customer promise of easy installation.
Since you specialize in pergola structures, can you give us an idea of the most popular product? What type of pergola is currently in the highest demand with your firm? Is it regional?
As a custom manufacturer, we get to design and fabricate some really interesting structures. We’ve made structures with curved designs, extreme cantilevers, and ultra functional industrial styles. Just recently, we created a taxi cab yellow I-beam structure for a rooftop in New York City; the contrast to the surrounding building is extraordinary. But year over year the most popular design is still that of a traditional European pergola like our Williamsburg model. It’s a classic architectural design that dates to Rome in the 1650s and has lasted through the centuries.
Your products have been installed in outdoor spaces across the nation. How have climate and geography factored into your design and manufacturing process?
Weather trends and location are always a factor when it comes to our designs. States and municipalities throughout the country have different building codes that we must work within. High winds, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, extreme cold or desert heat are considerations for many of the structures we design. The materials we use in manufacturing perform superbly in the varied climates throughout North America, from 116ºF in Arizona to -25ºF in Montana. Also, our in-house engineering department allows us to do more research and development than other companies, keeping Structureworks at the forefront of design in this ever-growing industry.
Lastly, your firm prides itself on the use of premium components and unsurpassed craftsmanship. Can you briefly walk us through your design/manufacturing process? Is every product hand-finished?
When you contact Structureworks, we establish the scope of your project. What are the design objectives? What look and feel are you trying to create? Where will the project be located? What building codes specific to your area might need to be considered? What budget are you trying to meet? If you have measurements or even a napkin sketch that we can start from, great. If not, that’s not a problem.
Once we have compiled all of the project information, we create a 3D rendering and quote to show exactly what the structure will look like. When the design is perfect and the sales drawings are approved, your structure goes into production.
We start the fabrication of your structure by using premium materials. All of the components are cut to exacting tolerances by CNC equipment. During assembly, additional structural elements may be added, end details are crafted and components are quality checked and matched for no-hassle onsite installation.
After assembly, all of our products are sent to finishing where they are carefully and precisely hand-finished. Based on design and material selection, structure components may go to one of our paint work centers where powder coat or liquid paint finishes are applied. Finally, all components are inspected again for quality before being packaged for shipping.