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Dramatic, high-tech touch for Galerías mall expansion

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Birdair's roof in another Mexico mall has the flying mast design envisioned for Liverpool's expansion in Mérida.
Birdair’s roof in another Mexico mall has the flying mast design envisioned for Liverpool’s expansion in Mérida.

Mérida, Yucatán — A fanciful touch from an upstate New York company will crown an expanded Galerías Mérida this fall.

The new conical roofing system, with a flying mast design suspended by cables, will function as a skylight made from approximately 19,000 square feet of fiberglass membrane fabric.

The new roof comes from Amherst, N.Y.-based Birdair, “the world’s leading specialty contractor for tensile membrane structures,” according to a press release.

The Mérida mall, which features more than 80 shops, plus a movie theater, a casino and an ice skating rink, is owned by the Liverpool chain of department stores. The project is expected to be completed in the fall.

Birdair has an established working relationship with Liverpool. Liverpool will serve as the architect, engineer and general contractor for the expansion project. Liverpool operates the largest chain of department stores in Mexico, including 17 shopping malls. Previously, Birdair has completed similar roofing projects for Liverpool, including Galleria Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta and Galerias Cuernavaca in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Their portfolio includes projects from North Carolina to the Arabian Gulf.

The company has also employed their technology for the U.S. embassy in London, Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, N.Y., and the national stadium in Brasilia, Brazil.

About the material

Extremely durable and weather resistant, PTFE fiberglass membrane can be installed in climates ranging from the frigid arctic to the warm, humid Mexican climate, with a project life in some cases exceeding 30 years, according to Birdair. The low surface energy of the material creates a surface which is readily cleaned by rainwater. It is also immune to UV radiation.

“Large retail spaces in warm climates are ideal applications for tensile architecture due to its ability to provide a comfortable shopping experience while also providing protection from sunlight,” said David Capezzuto, Director of Business Development for Birdair. “We’re excited to work with Liverpool once again and anticipate another successful project.”

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