Uni-Systems Engineering, Inc.


Completed 2003

Location: Rockford, Illinois

Scope of Work: Design, Supply, Commissioning


Architect: Studio/Gang Architects

General Contractor: Sjostrom & Sons

Structural Engineer: Dewhurst MacFarlane and Partners

Starlight Theatre

Retractable Roof

From the perspective of the audience, the six roof panels at Starlight Theatre rotate up in sequence to the sound of the orchestra. When the roof is fully open, the panels form a six-point star through which the audience views the starlit sky. In the event of rain, the sophisticated roof seal system provides complete protection from the weather. The audience does not see or hear the electro-mechanical system that drives the roof panels, nor the hydraulic safety mechanism, which provides a redundant load path for the roof panels and guarantees audience safety at all times.

The staff of Uni-Systems Engineering designed, supplied, and commissioned the  structure and electro-mechanical drive system for the Starlight Theatre retractable roof. Each triangular shaped panel is 36 feet wide at the base and 42 feet long. The tip of each panel is rotated up 24 feet to the open position with a 50-ton jack screw powered by a 5-horsepower motor. Two hydraulic cylinders support the weight of each panel in the unlikely event of a jack screw failure.