Best Applications for Retractable Glass Roofs

There are many benefits to incorporating a glass roof into commercial designs, and even further benefits when the glass roof is retractable.

automated opening roof for hotel dining space

Glass roofs vastly increase the influx of natural light, allowing space to be well lit which helps them to appear bigger and can highlight interior design elements.

Retractable glass roof systems are an excellent glazing solution for restaurants, hotels, bars, and anywhere with outdoor seating or dining spaces. The roof allows these outdoor spaces to be used all year round, providing a weather-tight roof when closed. The inclusion of sliding glass doors or walls around the roof system allows the space below to be completely protected during cold and rainy months.

This highly engineered system has optimum performance levels and can reach impressively large dimensions. Specially engineered sealing gaskets were designed for this retractable glass roof system to ensure complete water tightness and protection against the elements

The automated, sliding glass panes are powered by actuators with state of the art motors and retract with ease to allow the space to be completely opened up and merged with nature.


restaurant outdoor eating space with retractable roof

Retractable Glass Roof Over Restaurants

Outdoor dining spaces have always been popular in the summer months, but in winter these spaces are often unusable, leaving the extra seating space to go to waste. By incorporating a retractable roof over the space, this allows the space to be used all year, no matter the weather.

When looking at different roof options, utilising glass over awning or louvre roofs means that you have the additional benefits of increased natural light and views of nature even during the colder months when the roof is closed.

If an awning or louvre roof is chosen instead of a glass roof, then closed this is likely to increase the need for artificial lighting and would block views of the surrounding landscape.

An excellent example of this is the Bristol Beach Bar, a seafront restaurant on the pier in Bristol that is now able to utilise this space in all seasons thanks to the addition of an impressively large retractable glass roof over their terrace. Each module was 1.8m in width and with 20 in a row, this roof reached an impressive span of 36m.

These types of indoor-outdoor seating areas have grown massively in popularity over the last couple of years. With the pandemic and many hospitality companies only being able to seat people outdoors at times, there was a huge push for cafes, restaurants and pubs to increase the size of their outdoor spaces whilst finding ways to ensure they can be used no matter the weather.


Retractable Glass Roof Over Internal Courtyards

indoor courtyard cafe with automated opening glass roof

Café Seine in Dublin, Ireland, utilised our retractable glass roof system to turn the large internal courtyards into a street-garden space that can be used no matter the weather. Each of the 13 modules has four glass panes, and the overall span of the roof is an impressive 25m.

Internal courtyards are an innovative way to give internal space a strong connection with the outdoors, often used in commercial projects for external seating and eating, or as a garden space for people to just relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Using a retractable glass courtyard roof ensures that natural light is maximised at all times in the courtyard below, and when needed the space can be protected from rain or strong winds.


retractable roof over indoor swimming pool

Retractable Glass Roof Over an Indoor Pool

Indoor swimming pools have many benefits over outdoor pools, with the main one being they can be used and enjoyed all year round, no matter the weather.

By specifying a retractable glass roof over an indoor pool this allows it to still be used all year round with the added benefit of during the warmer months, the roof can be opened, allowing the space below to be heated by the warm sun rays and allowing people in the space below to feel the fresh air.

Having an indoor pool with a retractable roof it the epitome of luxury and flexibility, and a great example of this application is the private residential home that used the retractable roof system over their swimming pool.


Other Applications for Retractable Glass Roofs

glazed restaurant extension with retractable glass roof

Many buildings in the hospitality industry are currently undergoing renovations, expanding and modernising their space ready for the summer months. For hotels, they may have many of the spaces covered in this article including internal courtyards, outdoor pools and external seating areas, all of which could benefit from the addition of a retractable glass roof system.

When designing a highly glazed extension for hospitality buildings such as hotels or restaurants, our retractable glass roof systems can be a great addition, and when incorporated as part of a larger bespoke glazing package with slim sliding doors, creates a new usable space filled with natural light that offers clear views of the outdoors. 

For south-facing installations, solar control glass can be incorporated into our retractable glass roof system to prevent overheating in summer. This glazing solution can also be useful for larger installations.

The solar control coating is applied inside the insulated glass units and reflects the sun’s rays away from the internal living space helping to prevent overheating. Other glazing options are available for this system such as low maintenance glass to provide ultra-clear sky views or switchable privacy glass for the more exclusive places.


automated sliding glass roof over hotel restaurant for natural light and ventilation

MARS® – Modern Automated Rooflight System

Our retractable glass roof is suited to almost any commercial project; however, this is not the only large roof glazing solution from IQ that can be utilised to create indoor-outdoor areas.

The MARS (modern automated rooflight systems) can reach impressive sizes of up to 4m by 6m per pane and can be specified in a biparting over structure configuration meaning that the structural opening will be left completely clear, offering high levels of ventilation, a vast amount of natural light and a strong connection with the outdoors to the space below.

Automated sliding glass roof systems come in many forms, and as at IQ each system is manufactured completely bespoke, we are able to create opening glass roofs that are specific to the needs of that particular project.


IQ have a skilled in-house design team who love a challenge, so if you have a project that requires a retractable glass roof and the application or use isn’t mentioned here, get in touch as all of our systems are manufactured completely bespoke, allowing us to manufacture them to suit specific project requirements.

If you have any questions about our Retractable Glass Roof and how it can be used in your next project, contact the IQ team today.

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Shannon Normoyle

As one of the Senior Marketing Executives, Shannon oversees the website and SEO management for IQ and can often be found working on SEO strategies or writing content for the websites. 

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