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Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Robert Creamer photo.

Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral

  • COMPLETION DATE
    2013

Overview

Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design and construction engineering of a seven-story welcome center that features historical exhibits on the Port Canaveral area, from the first settlers to the 21st century space program. In addition to exhibition space interspersed throughout the building, the center will have indoor and outdoor observation decks, an 83-seat theater / auditorium, meeting and function space, and a café.

Progressively smaller floor plates cantilever from two main sloping pipe columns at the front of the building. A curved metal-panel shell supported by segmented columns and curved wind girts encloses the rear. An exposed curved steel-tube canopy extends 60 feet above the seventh-floor observation deck.

A wind tunnel study was performed to identify wind loads on the unique structure and canopy. Hurricane-level lateral loads are resisted by two concrete cores that house the egress stairs. The foundations consist of pile caps with precast concrete piles that extend 95 feet into the soil.

Construction engineering services included connection design, full Tekla modeling, and steel shop drawing production. Steel costs were controlled by issuing the fully connected Tekla model for steel bid. Integrating the steel connection design and Tekla modeling into the project during the construction document phase provided significant schedule savings.

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