Hurricane Retrofit

by Samuel J. Brown, (M.ASCE), Pres.; Quest Engineering Development Corp., Humble, TX,
Victor Perez, Pres.; Multitech Construction Co., West Palm Beach, FL,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 5, Pg. 59-60

Document Type: Feature article


Houston's Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center has been retrofitted to protect it from panel pop-out (separation from building curtain walls) and curtain-wall separation from the superstructure caused by tropical storms. When one panel separates, its neighbors often peel away. Protection meant strengthening the hotel's curtain wall, reanchoring it to the superstructure, retightening all 10,000 interlocking panel joints against water intrusion and air infiltration and exfiltration, and sealing the window system. This had to be done with minimum interference to the hotel's daily operations. Exterior retrofits consisted of specially fabricated aluminum-extruded-beam structural members, concealed by a snap-on aluminum-extruded strip. The interior side of the curtain-wall metal beam and stud system was secured to the concrete flooring by L-clips, while urethane injection sealed the panel joints against infiltration/exfiltration. The building's original curtain wall is now reinforced by two types of retrofit horizontal structural elements, a rectangular box section and an I section. Both sections are fastened through the laminated exterior panel, to the metal curtain-wall beams and the superstructure. At corners, aluminum blocks lock together retrofit beams at the mitered joint.

Subject Headings: Curtain walls | Panels (structural) | Superstructures | Joints | Aluminum (material) | Beams | Hurricanes, tornadoes, and cyclones | Rehabilitation

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