VergesRome Architects | New Orleans Architectural Firm


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Energy Centre, built in the mid-1980’s, is one of New Orleans’ premier office towers, located on Poydras Avenue. This 41-story office tower suffered severe damage from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when the building racked, causing glazing in areas to pop out as well as resulting in the deformation of the window framing systems.

The entire tower was surveyed and a majority of the glazing systems required replacement to accommodate the current racking of the tower.

Floors 1-7 received new missile impact-resistant frames and glazing, while the entire ground level was enhanced by a design program to incorporating additional security measures and protection for future storms.

Completed in 2010, the complex $18.4 Million project required careful coordination with facility personnel and tenants, as the window retrofits required working from both the interior and the exterior.

Saint Joseph Seminary College’s enrollment has significantly increased in recent years, creating a demand for updated housing and academic upgrades. To accommodate this growth, Rouquette Library needed a new home to make possible the return of Savio Hall, where Rouquette Library once resided, to its original function as a student residence.

The site for the new library was carefully selected in a location that does not disrupt the current mid-century modern master plan of the campus, and also places it in a location that visitors can access without compromising the private sectors of the campus. The site selected was the former swimming pool site.

The building was designed with three stories, with the ground floor used as exterior covered space for activities andwith easy access to other activites on the campus. The elevated structure not only reflects the elevated design of nearby Pius X Hall, but also offers protection for the seminary’s book collection in the event of flooding. The second floor houses the main collection with faculty resources for research, writing, and reading. The third floor provides collaborative student space along with two conference rooms for small lectures and meetings. The third floor will also house the library’s collection of bound serials and offer extended hours, until 10:00 p.m., each evening.

In addition, as the seminarians love the views of their campus, the new library design provides a nearly 360-degree panorama of the entire campus.

The 25-acre campus of the LSU Dental School in New Orleans sustained severe flood and wind damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Eighteen buildings, over 500,000 SF, were completely shut down. Basements and first floors housing critical equipment, and first floor dental operatories were flooded. The extended loss of environmental controls exacerbated rampant mold growth extending beyond the height of the floodwaters, requiring thorough environmental testing and extensive remediation throughout the campus.

A multi-phase approach to restoring the Dental School facilities was adopted by the joint venture team of VergesRome Architects and Mathes Brierre Architects. The project management plan, incorporating intense strategic planning and coordination with FEMA, was critical due to the size and complexity of the Project and maintaining full occupancy of the upper floors of the buildings throughout construction. The team worked closely with FEMA, from initial storm damage assessments and Project Worksheet scope alignment, to emergency projects for occupancy within months of the storm, to analysis and design of mitigation method options and dry/wet floodproofing measures for all campus facilities.

A new, raised, two-story Annex Building of approximately 65,000 SF was designed to house operations that previously occupied the basements and first floors of the Administration, Physical Plant, and Clinic Buildings. Affected operations mitigated included Central Sterilization, shipping and receiving operations, public reception and dental care facilities, student teaching/training facilities, and housekeeping facilities. Other facilities destroyed by the flood event, including animal research and care facilities, were also mitigated as part of the $76,000,000 project.

Photos courtesy of Citadel Builders, LLC.