In 1996, CPP tested the design of the New Orleans Arena for Walter P. Moore, the structural engineers of record, and FAIA & Partners, the architects. We tested external wind loads (localized and general) on the building's cladding and structural frame from 36 directions. We made design recommendations to enhance the arena's resistance to wind damage and to increase the efficient use of materials. We designed the wind tunnel tests knowing the Arena would have to withstand hurricane-force winds.
Unfortunately, the adjacent Superdome, which was not tested by CPP, did not fare well in the high winds. During Hurricane Katrina, the roof failed while thousands were sheltered within the building.
The lower two photos to the right show the wind tunnel model designed to test the New Orleans Arena. The dark orange model is the wind tunnel test subject--the Arena itself. The light orange buildings (including the Superdome) were included to create an acurate wind environment but were not part of the wind engineering study.
Wind engineering increases the design efficiency of buildings and structures. Tests and recommendations by qualified wind engineers can reduce material costs or enhance the design's reliability and can prevent rebuilding or repair costs.