Baker Museum of Art

Building a vision … through hurricane season.


Construction engineering and steel connection design meet hurricane season to achieve an architectural vision. We enjoy designing new buildings from scratch, but the rubber meets the road when it is time to assemble the building in the field. Our client, the steel fabricator and erector, approached us with this unique project containing tremendous architectural and structural complexity. 

The museum expansion consisted of a complex multi-story system of external steel trusses required to achieve long spans and aggressive cantilevers. Like a giant exoskeleton, the 35 ft deep trusses support three stories (218 tons of material and patrons) to create a column-less 68 ft span that also cantilevers 15 ft off the primary structure. A truly inspiring sight! 


The connection forces of the permanent conditions were incredibly high and required custom configurations to meet the unique geometry requirements of the span and architectural stone cladding. Where able, bolted connections were designed to minimize field welding and decrease erection time. 

In addition, the three-story frame created a biplane-like effect during construction. We analyzed and designed each stage to the erection sequence to 1) define a stable progression construction and 2) design shoring for vertical and lateral stability in the event of a hurricane striking the site before all permanent systems were locked together. To accomplish this, we analyzed the various uplift and shear hurricane wind forces for each sequence in the structure’s assembly. 

Location: Naples, FL
Client: Steel Fabricators, LLC
Architect: Weiss/Manfredi
Size: Three story, 25,000 sq. ft. expansion
Type: Cultural
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