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Westwego, LA, USA



Structural Design


This new construction project is part of a larger master plan in Westwego known as the WHARF – Wetlands Harbor Activities Recreational Facility. With the help of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the City of Westwego acquired a 92-acre tract of cypress/bottomland hardwood forest that will enhance water access to the Jean Lafitte Historical Park, Bayou Segnette State Park, and Lake Salvador Game Management Preserve. The facility is being constructed on the unprotected side of the federal levee system, requiring buildings to be fortified beyond the typical standards for the area to increase the resiliency of the site. Due to its waterfront location, the project requires close coordination with the USACE for approval of developments along a navigable waterway.

Marais is part of a team providing design services for the construction of an ADA accessible facility at the WHARF.  The facility will house restrooms, offices, storage areas, and a small event space. The building will be approximately 4,818 SF upon completion and will include a wrap-around deck, stairs, and a ramp.  Due to flood risk, the building will be elevated above the Base Flood Elevation and incorporates building standards for being located in AE flood zone and a high velocity wind area. The design of the building includes an elevated concrete deck over a system of concrete columns and beams. The framing of the building consists of a series of HSS steel scissor truss frames connected with purlins and cross-bracing. The walls of the enclosed space are cold-formed steel. The entire structure, including the ramp, is supported on piles on a system of grade beams.

Value Engineering was an integral aspect of our design process for this project and ultimately determined our final materials choices. In the early stages of design, our team performed an alternatives analysis, reviewing the material and labor cost differences for a full steel frame versus concrete frame, alternate pile types and arrangements, light-weight concrete versus normal-weight concrete, and more, to determine the most economical design elements for the construction of the structure.

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