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Renovation and Concrete Structural Reinforcement at NOLA's World Trade Center

The historic World Trade Center New Orleans is a focal point of the vibrant downtown landscape. Designed by noted architect Edward Durell Stone in the 1960s, the skyscraper is located in the heart of the New Orleans business district and on the Mississippi River. The building formerly housed numerous foreign consulates and was the headquarters for the Port of New Orleans.

The World Trade Center closed in 2011, and there was much debate about the fate of this iconic building. In 2014, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2018 work began to convert the structure to the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans. When completed, the building will include 335 hotel rooms and 92 residences, which will occupy the upper 13 floors of the building, as well as more than 10,000m² (106,000ft²) of new construction to house a range of amenities.

Surface Profile and Sponge Media

One aspect of this impressive renovation was constructing a new elevator shaft and to enlarge existing columns by reinforcing highly porous concrete. Overall, this portion of the job was approximately 340m² (3,640ft²) spanning 19 floors. Vertical and horizontal expansion was required throughout in order to overlay 3mm (1/8in) of carbon fiber reinforced, ultra-high performance concrete. This overlay required a surface profile specification of CSP-7 (Concrete Surface Profile), or a targeted profile of at least 3175 micron (125 mil). 

Sponge-Jet’s Sponge Media product was chosen by the contractor, Structural Preservation Systems, LLC, as the preferred blast media to create the proper surface profile, greatly reduce dust emissions and keep costs down. Sponge Blasting experts from CleanCut helped facilitate the process. 

 Increased Production and Cost Effective

For the elevator shaft and column enlargement component of the renovation, maintaining a high production rate was imperative. Using Sponge Media provides an increased production rate as compared to power tooling. And unlike ordinary blasting methods, sponge media blasting is less prone to fracturing the stone in concrete. 

There were also cost-compelling reasons the contractor chose Sponge Media – more simplistic containment was used compared to alternative surface preparation methods. Also, disposal costs were significantly lower when blasting with reusable Sponge Media.

In all in, Sponge-Jet played a critical role in the revitalization of this unique and beloved building in picturesque downtown New Orleans.

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