Under the Undersea World

by John Prendergast, Assoc. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 1, Pg. 46-49

Document Type: Feature article


Soil conditions in New Orleans are generally unfavorable to the construction of large structures, and exceptionally so along the Mississippi River banks, which tend to slide. But that hasn't stopped the city from slating the area for commercial development, as maritime traffic has declined and many of the old wharves have been left largely abandoned. The article describes the latest addition to the New Orleans waterfront—the $40 million Aquarium of the Americas, a 110,000 sq ft, 3-story structure of cast-in-place reinforced concrete that features a 145 ft tall 100 ft dia cylinder clad in aluminum and green-tinted glass. The aquarium has been called the most advanced in the world, but for engineers at least what's underneath the building may be its most interesting feature. The aquarium's foundation is a forest of steel-pipe piles driven hundreds of feet deep into the Mississippi River bottom.

Subject Headings: Reinforced concrete | Structure reinforcement | Pile foundations | Construction management | Soil properties | Landslides | Sliding effects | River bank stabilization | Mississippi River | North America | New Orleans | Louisiana | United States

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