Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Large Span Pergolas

“I want a 22’ pergola but I only want it supported by two posts.”

We get numerous requests for pergolas that look like this. "Do your pergola plans work for a 16' x 18' pergola with 6 posts", and before I can begin to explain that "that type of span is possible, but that is no simple and basic structure to plan and build due to such a large span"--the guy hangs up! I was going to give him free information but the guy was too impatient to receive it.

Many people want to avoid posts for some reason. It is a common source of frustration for me. That kind of thing requires some engineering—heavy beams and structural tricks and in the end after you triple your budget it just doesn’t look right..

Inspired details need to be simple and practical. Unique Pergolas can be designed and built, however what will it look like and how much will it cost. I always said we can build anything—however you may not like the price.

Pergolas are typically built in a perpendicular way with supports about 8’ to 12’ apart.

The purpose of a pergola is to create a room without walls and offer a vertical source of interest. Just the framework to “Frame the View”. You don’t see very many walls that don’t have any support posts in a house…

“No… I don’t want mullions and I want a window that is 20’ wide”.

Now that would be kind of ridiculous. Even big glass buildings have support columns. There are always dividers and supports spaced between even a wall of windows if for no other purpose than to add strength to the glass.

Supports don’t detract from the view—they enhance it. They bring architecture to the view—blending nature with the human creation.

The last good reason for not having a 20’ span…

Proportional Correctness.

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