Do you have questions that may be topics for discussion? This is the place to make your voice heard, and to get information from ICON about its products abd services.

Questions and Answers on Shelters ICON Staff


1. What are the different uses of shelters and shade structures?

Environmental – shelters and shade structures are used to protect people and animals from the elements of sunlight, wind and rain in any outdoor activity

Recreational – shelters and shade structures are used for a multitude of recreational purposes, such as picnics, community events, outdoor concerts, athletic activities, playground shade, carousels, fish cleaning stations and hiking trail way points

Community - shelters and shade structures are used for farmer’s markets, band shells, community centers, outdoor classrooms and walkways

Utilitarian - shelters and shade structures are used for public transportation, public time clock towers, message kiosks and portable toilet enclosures


2. Can you talk about the basics, such as (picnic shelters and pavilions); to the aesthetic (custom designs, park centerpieces, amphitheaters); and the more unique (shaded walkways, etc.)?

Shelter manufacturers typically have a line of standard shelters. I call them “Industry Standard Shelters” because every company produces a version of them, and they’re all more-or-less alike. One of the more prevalent questions I hear is, “Do you do custom work?”

Many custom designs come from the design community that works to create public spaces, but not all shelter companies have the capability to produce them. Several years ago, we produced a curved pergola structure for Jersey City, New Jersey that resembled the tiara on the statue of liberty. That type of work requires a number of people with specialized abilities.


As with any form of building design, shelters have changed a lot over the years. Here is a photo of the band shell at Campbell Park in Huron, South Dakota, likely built in the early part of the 20th century.

Campbell Park Bandshell

And here is a stage cover in the amphitheater at Civita Park in San Diego, designed by Schmidt Design Group in 2016 and fabricated by ICON.


3.) How do you determine which shelters and shade structures are best for your location?

  1. There are a lot of considerations that can influence the design of a public space and the elements that will define that space. Someone has to have a vision of what that space is going to be, how it will be used, and what benefit it will bring to the community. That’s a start. The design of the elements can reflect the surrounding infrastructure, or compliment a natural setting. A shelter can be a center point that draws people into its space, or exist in harmony with other elements in an overall design that defines a larger space.
  2. How tired is the concept “form follows function”? Some shade structures are minimalist with clean lines and no extras. Others are highly decorative, or designed in a specific architectural motif. But the function can be the same for either. That said, you won’t likely find an ornate gazebo at a rustic trail head, or a heavy, wood beam picnic shelter in an urban courtyard setting.
  3. Then there’s budget. We eventually come to that. But ICON is capable of value-engineering any shelter to meet the original design intent while staying within the budget requirements for the project.