Openable roof

Openable roof

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Abstract

An openable roof for reversibly covering an opening. The roof includes a roof portion defining a first roof portion end and a second roof end substantially opposed to the first roof portion end. The roof portion is positionable between a closed position, wherein the opening is substantially covered by the roof portion, and an open position wherein the opening is substantially uncovered by the roof portion. The openable roof further includes a first roof support connected to the roof portion and located in proximity to the first roof portion end, and a second roof support connected to the roof portion and located in proximity to the second roof portion end. The openable roof further includes a support member defining a support surface for supporting the first and second roof supports when the roof portion is moved between the open and the closed positions, the support surface being substantially concave.

Claims

1. An openable roof for reversibly covering an opening, said openable roof comprising: a. a roof portion defining a first roof portion end and a second roof portion end substantially opposed to said first roof portion end, said roof portion being positionable between: i. a closed position wherein the opening is substantially covered by said roof portion; and ii. an open position wherein the opening is substantially uncovered by said roof portion; b. a first roof support connected to said roof portion and located in proximity to said first roof portion end; c. a second roof support connected to said roof portion and located in proximity to said second roof portion end; and d. a support member, said support member defining a support surface for supporting said first and second roof supports when said roof portion is moved between said open and said closed positions, said support surface being substantially concave.

2. An openable roof as defined in claim 1, wherein said first and second roof portion supports contact said support surface when said roof portion is: a. in said closed position; b. in said open position; and c. in substantially all positions intermediate said open and closed positions.

3. An openable roof as defined in claim 2, wherein said first roof portion support includes: a. a first body connected to said roof portion; and b. a first wheel rotatably mounted to said first body, said first wheel contacting said support surface, said first body and said first wheel being configured, located and sized so as: i. to allow said roof portion to pivot with respect to said support surface when said panel is moved between said open and said closed positions; and ii. to allow said wheel to roll onto said support surface when said roof portion is moved between said open and said closed positions.

4. An openable roof as defined in claim 3, wherein said first body is fixed with respect to said roof portion and said roof portion pivots with respect to said support surface through a rotation of said first wheel.

5. An openable roof as defined in claim 3, wherein: a. said first roof portion support includes a second wheel rotatably mounted to said first body and contacting said support surface; and b. said first body is pivotably connected to said roof section.

6. An openable roof as defined in claim 5, wherein said first body is pivotably connected to said roof section through an axle.

7. An openable roof as defined in claim 5, wherein said first body is pivotably connected to said roof section through a hinge.

8. An openable roof as defined in claim 7, wherein said second support includes: a. a second body pivotably connected to said roof section through a hinge; b. a third and a fourth wheel rotatably mounted to said second body and each contacting said support surface.

9. An openable roof as defined in claim 3, wherein said support member includes a rail defining said support surface and receiving said first wheel.

10. An openable roof as defined in claim 9, wherein said support member includes a U-shaped rail including first and second substantially opposed lateral portions connected by a bottom portion, said support surface being defined by said bottom portion.

11. An openable roof as defined in claim 9, wherein said support member includes a C-shaped rail including a bottom portion and a top portion substantially opposed to said bottom portion, said bottom and top portions being connected by a lateral portion, said bottom portion defining said support surface.

12. An openable roof as defined in claim 11, wherein said rail further includes a bottom flange extending from said bottom portion towards said top portion.

13. An openable roof as defined in claim 12, wherein: a. said roof support is for being supported at least in part by a fixed roof of a building; and b. said support member further includes a support leg connected to said C-shaped rail, said support leg being for supporting said C-shaped rail away from the fixed roof.

14. An openable roof as defined in claim 12, wherein said rail includes a first and a second substantially straight segment connected by a substantially curved segment.

15. An openable roof as defined in claim 14, wherein: a. the opening is an opening in a roof of an annex to a building, the building having a fixed roof; b. said roof portion is supported at least in part over the fixed roof of the building in said open position.

16. An openable roof as defined in claim 15, wherein the building is supported by a ground, said roof portion being angled differently with respect to the ground when in said closed position than when in said open position.

17. An openable roof as defined in claim 16, wherein the angle between the ground and said roof portion is larger when said roof portion is in said open position than when said roof portion is in said closed position.

18. An openable roof as defined in claim 13, wherein: a. said support member is a first support member, said support surface is a first support surface and said rail is a first rail; b. said openable roof comprises a second support member including a second rail defining a substantially concave second support surface; c. said roof portion defines two lateral sections; d. said roof portion defines four corner sections connecting said lateral sections to said first and second roof portion ends; e. said openable roof comprises a third roof support connected to said roof portion and located in proximity to said first roof portion end and a fourth roof support connected to said roof portion and located in proximity to said second roof portion end; f. each of said first, second, third and fourth roof support is pivotably connected to said roof portion and located in proximity to a respective one of said corner sections; g. each of said first, second, third and fourth roof support includes a respective wheel train including at least two wheels, said wheels included in said first and third roof supports being received by said first rail and contacting said first support surface, said wheels included in said second and fourth roof supports being received by said second rail and contacting said second support surface.

19. An openable roof as defined in claim 11, wherein said rail is surrounded at least in part by a protective cover.

20. An openable roof as defined in claim 13, wherein said openable roof further includes an accessory support connected to said roof portion for supporting said roof portion in said closed position, said accessory support being located substantially away from said first and second roof portion ends, said accessory support being for being supported by an accessory support surface located outside of said rail.

21. An openable roof as defined in claim 11, comprising: a. a motor connected to said roof portion, said motor being for moving said roof portion between said open and closed positions; and b. a controller for controlling said motor.

22. An openable roof as defined in claim 21, wherein: a. the opening is an opening in an annex to a building; b. said motor is supported by either one of the annex and the buidling; c. said openable roof comprises a transmission supported by either one of the annex and the building and driven by said motor, said transmission including: i. a cable connected to said roof portion for pulling said roof portion against gravity; ii. a reel mounted onto an axle driven by said motor for rolling and unrolling said cable onto and from said reel.

23. An openable roof as defined in claim 21, wherein said transmission further includes a pulley for routing said cable between said reel and said roof portion.

24. An openable roof as defined in claim 21, wherein said transmission further includes a biasing element for biasing said roof portion against gravity through said cable.

25. An openable roof as defined in claim 11, wherein said roof portion includes a support structure and a panel connected to said support structure.

26. An openable roof as defined in claim 25, wherein said support structure includes a grid of substantially elongated beams.

27. An openable roof as defined in claim 26, wherein said panel is a corrugated panel.

 

Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to roofs. More specifically, the present invention is concerned with an openable roof.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Many buildings include uncovered annexes, such as patios. Since they are uncovered, these annexes cannot be used under many conditions. For example, in case of rain, it is impossible to use the annex. Also, even when the rain has stopped, furniture and accessories, such as barbeques and other cooking accessories, left outside during the rain are wet and are not readily available for use. In addition, in temperate climates, the annex becomes unusable for a large portion of the year when the weather is too cold.

[0003] One solution to this problem resides in covering the annex with an openable roof. The roof is opened when an intended user wishes to enjoy the outdoors and is closed when the weather is inclement.

[0004] Currently available roofs typically require that the slope of the roof of the annex is identical to the slope of the roof of the building located beside the annex. This constraint is due to the basic structure of such openable roofs.

[0005] For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,145,254, issued to Silva on Nov. 14, 2000, describes an openable roof including a substantially flat panel inserted between two parallel rails. Since the panel is rigid, and since the rails are also rigid, the rails and the panel, both in open and in the closed positions are required to be substantially located in a common plane. Accordingly, it is impossible to have the openable roof described in this patent with the roof at a first angle in a closed configuration and at second differing angle in the open configuration.

[0006] Many other openable roofs have also been proposed but none of them allow the openable roof to be opened over a concave surface wherein the openable roof is at different angles with respect to the ground when open and closed.

[0007] Against this background, there exists a need in the industry to provide a novel openable roof.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0008] An object of the present invention is therefore to provide an improved openable roof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] In a first broad aspect, the invention provides an openable roof for reversibly covering an opening. The roof includes a roof portion defining a first roof portion end and a second roof portion end substantially opposed to the first roof portion end. The roof portion is positionable between a closed position, wherein the opening is substantially covered by the roof portion, and an open position wherein the opening is substantially uncovered by the roof portion. The openable roof further includes a first roof support connected to the roof portion and located in proximity to the first roof portion end, and a second roof support connected to the roof portion and located in proximity to the second roof portion end. The openable roof further includes a support member defining a support surface for supporting the first and second roof supports when the roof portion is moved between the open and the closed positions, the support surface being substantially concave.

[0010] In a variant, the support surface includes a first and a second substantially flat segment connected through a substantially curved segment. Therefore, the first and second straight segments, along with the curved segment, define the substantially concave support surface.

[0011] In specific embodiments of the invention, in the closed position the roof portion is located substantially above the first straight segment, and in the open position, the roof portion is located substantially above the second straight segment.

[0012] Therefore, the roof portion is supported at two different angles when in the closed and the open configurations, which allows a greater flexibility when designing an openable roof for a building.

[0013] For example, if the openable roof is for covering a patio when the weather is inclement, the roof when covering the patio is not required to be at the same angle than the roof of the building to which the patio is annexed. Therefore, a greater flexibility in patio design is provided. Indeed, if the openable roof is required to be at the same angle in the closed and open configurations, the patio cannot extend very far from the building without putting severe constraint to the height of the covered patio at an extremity of the patio distal from the building.

[0014] Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of preferred embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] In the appended drawings:

[0016] FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a house and an adjacent patio covered by an openable roof;

[0017] FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of a roof support of the openable roof of FIG. 1;

[0018] FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of an alternative roof support present in some embodiments of an openable roof similar to the openable roof of FIG. 1;

[0019] FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of another alternative roof support present in some embodiments of an openable roof similar to the openable roof of FIG. 1;

[0020] FIG. 5 is a schematic side elevation view of the roof of FIG. 1 in a closed position;

[0021] FIG. 6 is a schematic side elevation view of the roof of FIG. 1 in a position intermediate the closed position and an open position;

[0022] FIG. 7 is a schematic side elevation view of the roof of FIG. 1 in the open position;

[0023] FIG. 8 is a schematic side elevation view of a roof similar to the openable roof of FIG. 1 in an open position on a wall of a building;

[0024] FIG. 9 is a cross-section of the openable roof of FIG. 1;

[0025] FIG. 10 is a cross-section of an alternative openable roof;

[0026] FIG. 11A is a cross-section illustrating the attachment of a support member of the openable roof of FIG. 1 to a roof of the house;

[0027] FIG. 11B is a cross-section illustrating the attachment of an alternative support member for the openable roof of FIG. 1 to a roof of the house;

[0028] FIG. 12 is a schematic perspective view of the structure of the roof of FIG. 1; and

[0029] FIG. 13 is a schematic side elevation view of a motor and a transmission for opening and closing the openable roof if FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0030] FIG. 1 shows an openable roof 10 for reversibly covering an opening 11 (shown in FIG. 12). The roof 10 includes a roof portion 12 defining a first roof portion end 26 and a second roof portion end 28 substantially opposed to the first roof portion end 26.

[0031] The roof portion 12 is positionable between a closed position, wherein the opening 11 is substantially covered by the roof portion 12, and an open position wherein the opening is substantially uncovered by the roof portion 12. An example of a closed position is shown in FIG. 5, while an example of an open position is shown in FIG. 7. In other words, the roof 10 is a retractable roof.

[0032] In some embodiments of the invention, the opening 11 extends over an area corresponding substantially to an area covered by the roof portion 12 in the closed position. In other embodiments of the invention, the opening 11 extends over an area corresponding to only part of the area covered by the roof portion 12 in the closed position. In other words, in specific embodiments of the invention, the locations in space occupied by the roof portion 12 in the closed and open positions do or do not overlap.

[0033] Refering to FIG. 12, the roof 10 includes four roof supports 14A, 14B, 14C and 14D. The roof supports 14A, 14B, 14C and 14D are connected to the roof portion 12. The roof supports 14A and 14C are located in proximity to the roof portion end 28. The roof supports 14B and 14D are located in proximity to the roof portion end 26.

[0034] Two support members 18 and 19 each define a respective support surface 20 and 21 for supporting respectively the roof supports 14A and 14B and the roof supports 14C and 14D. The support surfaces 20 and 21 support the roof supports 14A, 14B, 14C and 14D when the roof portion 12 is moved between the open and the closed positions. The support surfaces 20 and 21 are substantially concave. However, in alternative roof supports, the support surfaces are not concave.

[0035] In some embodiments of the invention, the roof supports 14A, 14B, 14C and 14D contact the support surfaces 20 and 21 when the roof portion 12 is in the closed position, in the open position, and in substantially all positions intermediate the open and the closed positions. However, in alternative embodiments of the invention, roof portion supports do not necessarily contact support surfaces at all times.

[0036] Turning back to FIG. 1, structures supporting the openable roof 10 will be described in further details. FIG. 1 shows the openable roof 10 as being the roof of an annex to a house 104 taking the form of a covered patio 102. The openable 10 roof is supported in part by the patio 102 and in part by the roof 100 of the house 104.

[0037] The patio 102 is any suitable patio. For example, the patio 102 includes a structure 106 (better shown in FIG. 12) made of a suitable material, for example, and non-limitatively, of weatherproofed wood. Walls 108 made of a suitable material, for example of a flexible plastic material defining windows 110, are connected to the structure 106. Methods for building such patios 102 are well-known in the art and will therefore not be described herein.

[0038] Since the openable roof 10 aims at covering the patio, in some embodiments of the invention, the patio 102 includes weather proofing seals 112 in the form of flaps of material extending away from the openable roof 10 and overlapping the walls 108. The weatherproofing seals 112 protect the patio 102 from the weather such as to allow an intended user to use the patio 102 even in inclement weather. In other embodiments of the invention, the patio 102 includes weatherproofing seals taking any other suitable form, or the patio 102 does not include weatherproofing seals.

[0039] To further improve the weatherproofing of the openable roof 10, in some embodiments of the invention, the openable roof 10 is configured and sized such that the roof portion 12 is in proximity to the structure 106 when in the closed position. In other embodiments of the invention, the roof portion 12 contacts the structure 106 when in the closed position.

[0040] Although the openable roof 10 is an openable roof for an annex to the house 104, any other possibilities are within the scope of the claimed invention. For example, and non-limitatively, in an alternative embodiment of the invention, an openable roof according to the claimed invention allows to reversibly cover an opening in a roof of a house, the roof including two substantially flat portions angled with respect to each other.

[0041] A few specific embodiments of the roof portion support 14B and of other suitable roof portion supports 14B' and 14B'' are described in further details hereinbelow. However, many other alternative embodiments of the roof support 14B are also within the scope of the invention. The roof portion supports 14A, 14C and 14D are similar to the roof portion 14B and will not be described in further details.

[0042] In a specific embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 2, the roof portion support 14B includes a body 30 connected to the roof portion 12 and a wheel 32 rotatably mounted to the body 30. The wheel 32 contacts the support surface 20. The body 30 and the wheel 32 are configured, located and sized so as to allow the roof portion 12 to pivot with respect to the support surface 20 when the roof portion 12 is moved between the opened and the closed positions. Furthermore, the wheel 32 rolls onto the support surface 20 when the roof portion 12 is moved between the open and the closed positions.

[0043] In the specific embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 2, the roof portion support 14B includes two other wheels 34 and 36. The wheels 34 and 36 are rotatably mounted to the body 30 and contact the support surface 20. The wheels 32, 34 and 36 form a wheel train.

[0044] The body 30 is pivotably connected to the roof portion 12. As shown in FIG. 2, the roof portion 12 is connected to the body 30 through a hinge 31.

[0045] As shown in FIG. 3, in an alternative embodiment of the roof support 14B, namely in roof support 14B', an alternative body 30' is connected to the roof portion 12 through an axle 33. The body 30' is similar to the body 30 and is connected to the three wheels 32, 34 and 36.

[0046] In yet another embodiment of the invention, the roof support 14B'' shown in FIG. 4 includes a body 30'' onto which a single wheel 32 is rotatably mounted. The body 30'' is mounted to the roof portion 12 such as to disallow a rotation of the body 30'' with respect to the roof portion 12.

[0047] The wheels 32, 34 and 36 are received by the support member 18. As shown in FIG. 11A, the support member 18 includes a substantially C-shaped rail 118, including a bottom portion 40, a top portion 42 and a lateral portion 45, connecting the bottom portion 40 and the top portion 42. The bottom portion 40 defines the support surface 20. In addition, although absent in some embodiments of the invention, the rail 118 further includes a bottom flange 46 extending from the bottom portion 40 towards the top portion 42. In some embodiments of the invention not shown In the drawings, the rail 118 further includes a top flange extending from the top portion 42 towards the bottom portion 40. The rail 118 receives the wheels 32, 34 and 36.

[0048] In a specific embodiment of the invention, the rail 118 defines two substantially straight segments 66 and 68 connected by a substantially curved segment 70. In this case, the openable roof 12 is particularly suitable for covering an opening of a roof of an annex to a building. As mentioned hereinabove, the building includes a fixed roof 104. As shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, the roof portion 12 is supported, at least in part, over the fixed roof 104 of the building when in the open position. When in the closed position, the roof portion is supported, at least in part, over the opening 11.

[0049] The roof portion 12 is angled differently with respect to the ground when in the closed position then when in the opened position. The angle between the ground and the roof portion 12 is larger when the roof portion 12 is in the open position then when the roof portion 12 is in the closed position. However, in alternative embodiments of the invention, the reverse relationship is true.

[0050] An example of a suitable situation for this type of roof is when the openable roof is a roof of an annex to a single-story house. In this case, if the openable roof were to be angled with the same angle as the roof of the house, the openable roof could not extend much beyond the house before coming too close to a floor surface of the annex.

[0051] In yet another embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 8, the roof portion 12 is supported onto a wall 105 of a two-story house 107 when in the open position. In this case, the straight segments 66 and 68 are connected by the curved segment 70' which is similar to the curved segment 70.

[0052] In some embodiments of the invention, as shown in FIG. 11B, for example in some embodiments wherein the roof portion supports are similar to the roof portion support 14''B, the rail 118 is replaced by another rail taking the form of a substantially U-shaped rail, including first and second substantially opposed lateral portions connected by a bottom portion. The bottom portion defines support surface 20.

[0053] The reader skilled in the art will readily appreciate that many alternative wheel supports and rails are within the scope of the invention. It is also within the scope of the invention to have roof portion supports that do not include wheels. In this case, the wheel supports slide onto the support surfaces.

[0054] FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein the support members 18 and 19 are supported, at least in part, by the fixed roof of 100 a building, here the house 104. In this case, as shown in FIG. 11A for support member 18 in the form of the above-described rail 118, the support members 18 and 19 each include one or more support legs 60 connected to the rail 118. The support leg 60 supports the rail 118 away from the fixed roof 100.

[0055] In the specific embodiment of the invention shown in the drawings, the support leg 60 includes an L-shaped bracket 61 and two reinforcing members 62 and 63. The bracket 61 is connected to the reinforcing member 62 and is attached to the lateral portion 45 of the rail 118. The reinforcing members 62 and 63 are secured to the roof 104 respectively outside and inside the building and allow to attach the support leg 60 to the building with minimal damage to the roof 100.

[0056] In a non-limiting example of implementation, suitable reinforcing members 62 and 63 include pieces of wood suitably attached to the roof 104. Since methods for attaching reinforcing members to roofs are well-known in the art, such methods will not be described in further details herein.

[0057] In a specific embodiment of the invention, the rail 118 includes two substantially straight segments 66 and 68 connected by a substantially curved segment 70. In this case, the openable roof 12 is particularly suitable for covering an opening of a roof of an annex to a building.

[0058] As mentioned hereinabove, the building includes a fixed roof 100. The roof portion 12 is supported, at least in part, over the fixed roof 100 of the building when in the open position. When in the closed position, the roof portion is supported, at least in part, over the opening. To that effect, the straight segment 66 is provided over the roof 100, while the straight segment 68 is provided over the patio 102

[0059] The roof portion 12 is angled differently with respect to the ground when in the closed position than when in the opened position. As shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, the angle between the ground and the roof portion 12 is larger when the roof portion 12 is in the open position then when the roof portion 12 is in the closed position. However, in alternative embodiments of the invention, the reverse relationship is true.

[0060] An example of a suitable situation for this type of roof is when the openable roof is a roof of an annex to a single-storey house. In this case, if the openable roof were to be angled with the same angle as the roof of the house, the openable roof could not extend beyond the house for a long distance before coming too close to a floor surface of the annex.

[0061] As shown better in FIG. 12, the roof portion 12 includes a support structure 78 and a panel 80 connected to the support structure 78. In a specific embodiment of the invention, the support structure includes a plurality of substantially elongated beams 82 forming a grid. However, any other suitable support structure is used with the invention in other embodiments. Also, in some embodiments of the invention, the panel 80 is a corrugated panel (shown on FIG. 9). However, in alternative embodiments of the invention, the panel is any suitable panel, such as a non-corrugated panel (shown on FIG. 10).

[0062] The roof portion 12 defines two lateral sections 200 and 202. In addition, the roof portion 12 defines four corner sections 204, 206, 208 and 210 connecting the lateral sections 200 and 202 to the roof portion ends 26 and 28. Each of the roof portion supports 14A, 14B, 14C and 14D is located in proximity to a respective one of the corner sections 204, 206, 208 and 210.

[0063] In some embodiments of the invention, as shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, the roof 10 further an accessory support 212 connected to the roof portion 12 for supporting the roof portion 12 in the closed position. The accessory support 212 is located substantially away from the first and second roof portion ends 26 and 28. In some embodiments of the invention, the accessory support 212 includes one or more wheels 214. However, in alternative embodiments of the invention, the accessory support 212 does not include wheels.

[0064] The accessory support 212 supports the roof portion 12 outside of the rails 118 to allow the roof portion 12 to pivot with respect to the support surface 20 as described hereinabove. In other embodiments of the invention, the accessory support 212 is supported by the structure of the annex, such as by the structure 106.

[0065] In some embodiments of the invention, the roof portion 12 is moved between the open and the closed position manually. However, in other embodiments of the invention, a motor is provided for moving the roof portion 12 between the open and the closed positions. In this case, a controller 222 is provided for controlling the motor.

[0066] As better shown in FIG. 13, an example of such a motorized roof includes a transmission 224 connected to the motor 220. The transmission 224 and the motor 220 are supported by the structure 106 of the annex to the building. However, in alternative embodiments of the invention, the motor and the transmission are supported in any other suitable manner.

[0067] The transmission 224 includes a cable 226 connected to the roof portion 12 for pulling the roof portion 12 against gravity. In addition, the transmission 224 includes a reel 228 mounted onto an axle 230 driven by the motor 220 for rolling and unrolling the cable 226 onto and from the reel 228. A pulley 232 routes the cable 226 between the reel 228 and the roof portion 12. In a specific embodiment of the invention, the pulley 232 is located at an extremity of the rail 118. However, any other suitable arrangement for the pulley can be used with the invention.

[0068] In some embodiments of the invention, the transmission 224 includes two cables, two reels and two pulleys, each being similar to the cable 226, the reel 228 and the pulley 232

[0069] In some embodiments of the invention, the axle 230 includes a biasing element 234 for biasing the roof portion 12 against gravity through the cable 226.

[0070] In use, an intended user operates the roof 10 through the controller 222. The controller 222 allows operation of the motor 220 such that the motor 220 rotates in a desired direction. Rotating the motor 220 in a first direction allows the opening of the roof 10, while operating the motor 220 in the other direction allows the closing of the roof 10.

[0071] To open the roof 10, the cable is rolled onto the reel 228, which therefore pulls onto the roof portion 12 through the pulley 232. Therefore, the roof portion 12 moves in the direction of the pulley 232 and opens the opening 11. The wheels of the roof supports 14A, 14B, 14C and 14D facilitate the movement of the roof portion 12 by rolling onto the support surfaces 20 and 21.

[0072] To close the roof 10, the direction of rotation of the motor 220 is reversed and therefore, the roof portion 12 retracts toward the closed position under the influence of gravity.

[0073] In some embodiments of the invention, it is possible to stop the roof in between the open and the closed position, as shown in FIG. 6. Also, depending on the dimensions of the fixed roof 104 and of the opening 11, in some embodiments of the invention, the roof portion 12 is not totally supported over the fixed roof 104 when in the open position.

[0074] Although the present invention has been described hereinabove by way of preferred embodiments thereof, it can be modified, without departing from the spirit and nature of the subject invention as defined in the appended claim.