What Are Architectural Canopies?

An architectural canopy is an overhead structure that provides shade or shelter from weather conditions, such as rain, snow, hail, and sun. It can be constructed in many forms, such as a standalone tent without a floor or an overhanging roof attached to the side of a building. Additionally, it can be made from various materials, such as metal, plastic, or fabric, in a variety of colors to suit different functional and aesthetic requirements. 

The Role of Canopies in Railroad Stations

In railroad stations, canopies serve a dual purpose. They are used to protect waiting passengers, working personnel, and existing structures and equipment from the elements, which is critical to preventing the uncontrollable environment from stopping operations. They are also used to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of the station, which is important to improving the overall passenger experience. Typically, railroad station canopies are made from metal, which, depending on the type chosen, can be a durable, cost-effective, and attractive material option.

Why Use Aluminum vs. Steel for Canopies?

Canopies can be manufactured from a wide range of materials. Two of the most commonly used metals are aluminum and steel. Both of these materials offer distinct advantages that make them suitable for different applications. 

Aluminum offers the following benefits: 

  • It is lightweight. Aluminum is approximately one-third the weight of steel, which makes it easier and, consequently, cheaper to handle and transport for canopy production operations. 
  • It is corrosion-resistant. Aluminum is naturally corrosion-resistant, making it suitable for use in applications where corrosion is a concern (e.g., outdoor environments).
  • It is an excellent thermal conductor. Aluminum readily absorbs heat. As a result, railroad station canopies made from it help keep the station cool.  
  • It is reflective. Aluminum is highly reflective, enabling canopies made from it to direct unwanted light away from railroad stations.
  • It is impermeable. Aluminum is impermeable, so canopies made from it carry minimal risk of leaking when properly constructed and maintained. 
  • It is recyclable. Aluminum is 100% recyclable, so canopies made from it can be fully repurposed once they’ve reached the end of their service lives. 

Steel offers the following benefits: 

  • It is durable. Steel is highly durable, so canopies made out of it are long-lasting.
  • It is flexible. Steel can be used in a variety of metalworking processes and made into various forms, which allows canopy manufacturers to tailor the structure’s design in many ways to suit different station needs.
  • It is cost-efficient. Steel is quick and cheap to produce, which helps reduces its purchasing price. This quality, combined with its durability, makes it a low-cost, long-lasting material option for railroad station canopies. 
  • It is recyclable. Steel is 100% recyclable, so canopies made from it can be scrapped and recycled into new products at the end of their service lives.

Contact Selco for Your Architectural Canopy Needs

Whether you need an aluminum canopy or a steel canopy, the fabrication experts at Selco have got you covered. Equipped with over 100 years of industry experience, broad fabrication capabilities, and state-of-the-art fabrication tools, customers throughout the transit industry know they can trust us to deliver quality parts and products for their needs. 

To learn more about our canopy solutions, contact us today. To discuss your canopy specifications with one of our team members, request a quote today.