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Best Practices for Design and Specification of Fabric Shade

In an era where human activity is largely confined indoors, the importance of outdoor spaces is greater than ever before. However, one key deterrent from stepping outside is excessive sun exposure. This course is aimed at equipping parks and recreation professionals with innovative methods for creating shade. Tensile fabric structures are a game-changer, transforming the perception and utility of outdoor spaces. The only limit is the designer’s imagination!

This course explores the significance of tensile fabric structures and the ways they can be applied to create innovative architecture. It also breaks down the components of these structures, such as the frame, fabric, connections, and base. Furthermore, it offers a comprehensive guide to bringing a fabric structure to life, from conception to completion. Finally, to show these innovative structures in action, real-world case studies are sprinkled throughout.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

Discuss how outdoor shade protects people, products, and locations.
Explain the factors involved in incorporating fabric structures into existing architecture.
Establish guidelines for the specification of fabric shade structures, including safety and durability.

Recognize the steps involved in designing and implementing a top-notch shade structure.

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About this course

What will I learn?

With the ongoing rise of technology and urbanization, people have never been more sedentary. Therefore, it’s important that we get outdoors and live an active lifestyle. However, one obstacle to being outdoors is sun exposure, which can be dangerous in large doses. With that said, installing a shade structure in your outdoor space is not only beneficial, but necessary.

In this course, Whitney Klen of USA Shade offers shade creation techniques for designers, landscape architects, and urban planners. In addition, she discusses the various parts that make up a fabric shade structure, as well as their benefits.

  • Provides Health Benefits from Being Outside: Exposure to full spectrum light boosts people’s moods. In addition, it also helps people with ADHD focus better after being outside.
  • Protects People from Harmful UV Rays: Skin cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers, caused by harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. High quality fabric shades block up to 97% of these rays.
  • Allows Innovative Expression for Design Professionals: Landscape architects can use different shapes/styles of fabric shade to define a space. This results in more imaginative designs.
  • Lowers the Temperature and Softens the Light: Outdoor spaces and surfaces in direct sunlight can be very hot. Fabric shades help keep these spaces cool and mitigate adverse health effects.
  • Eliminates Upkeep and Maintenance of Trees: Shade trees take a long time to mature and require ongoing maintenance. In addition, they can cause property damage during storms.
  • Reinforces Brand with Shape and Colour: The designer can specify certain shapes and colours to support the venue. This is great for playgrounds with a theme, as well as private businesses.

Who is my instructor?

Whitney Klen is the Director of Sales for USA Shade & Fabric Structures, a pioneer in fabric shade structures and technology. Whitney has been working for USA Shade in various roles for over a decade, helping clients across the U.S. achieve their shade dreams. More broadly, Whitney has nearly 20 years of experience working in the parks and recreation industry.

Before starting with USA Shade, Whitney worked for BCI Burke and Robertson Industries. BCI Burke is a global supplier of commercial playground equipment, while Robertson Industries is a local manufacturer of poured-in-place rubber surfacing. Her experience at both companies lends her unique insight into how shade systems interact with the playground as a whole.

In terms of education, Whitney possesses a BSc. in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing Communications, from California Polytechnic State University. She uses her education, combined with her business experience, to deliver high-quality and innovative shade systems to her clients.

Day to day, Whitney manages a team of over 15 sales reps and office administrators. She is responsible for a $20+ million budget each year, and is personally responsible for $1.5 million in sales annually. In addition, Whitney also coordinates various marketing activities for USA Shade, including tradeshows, industry events, and educational sessions.

Who is this course for?

The great thing about our courses is that they’re designed for all levels of experience. Whether you’re a parent on a PAC planning your first playground, or a landscape architect with decades of experience, there’s always something new to learn. Plus, our courses offer a quick way to stay up to date with the most recent trends in playground design.

Our courses take into account multiple groups and audiences, all of whom have different needs for their playground. A few groups that will benefit from taking our courses include:

  • Parents: Parent volunteers will learn the most important aspects to consider when planning their playground project.
  • Teachers: Teachers will learn about the educational benefits of play and how to incorporate them on the playground.
  • Landscape Architects: Architects will learn innovative design ideas that they may use in their upcoming projects.
  • Parks & Recreation: Parks professionals will learn about recent advances in safety, inclusion, and sustainability.
  • Property Managers: Property managers will learn how playgrounds can attract families to live in their neighbourhood.
Whitney Klen, course instructor for "Best Practices for Design and Specification of Fabric Shade."

Whitney Klen

Director of Sales, USA Shade & Fabric Structures

Whitney Klen is the Director of Sales for USA Shade & Fabric Structures, a market leader in fabric shade technology. She has worked in the parks and recreation industry for nearly 20 years, with over a decade of that experience devoted to fabric shade design.

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