Project Spotlight: National World War II Museum

Preserving the Past

The National World War II Museum was built as Phase IV of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliates Program expansion. The unique design of the 70,000 square foot museum is intended to remind visitors of a WWII naval ship and houses thousands of artifacts of the time including vehicles, weapons, photos, videos, and interactive exhibits. The museum features a 250-seat theater where visitors immerse themselves in an array of 4D and a multi-sensory effect video across a 125-foot IMAX screen. The theatrical stage exhibit has the ability to rise out of the ground from a 30’ deep concrete pit. Another main attraction is a 40’s style restaurant and a 150-seat Stage Door Canteen reminiscent of a USO-style restaurant.  

One of the major challenges for construction was the limited space available in the warehouse district of downtown New Orleans. With the building taking up most of the area, coordination of deliveries, staging and laydown was critical, causing the S&P team to utilize storage facilities close to the site. New Orleans sits almost at sea level, making protection against water intrusion a high priority, especially as the city was recovering from Hurricane Katrina. 

Close collaboration between S&P and the design team was essential to complete the project on time. Through numerous meetings and careful coordination involving S&P, subcontractors, architects, consultants, and the owner, potential conflicts or issues were resolved seamlessly without halting construction progress. The museum was dedicated on Veteran’s Day 2009 and welcomed many WWII veterans, a nation-wide array of military and government leaders, and as well as news leaders and entertainment personalities. 

This exceptional project received many awards locally, statewide, and nationally including: AGC of America – Best New Building Project Aon Build America Award, South Central Construction – Best of Louisiana – Judges Award – Design, South Central Construction – Best of Louisiana Best in Category – Best Cultural Project, ABC New Orleans/Bayou Chapter – Excellence in Construction – Merit Gold Award – Other Construction, and Precast Prestressed Concrete Institute – PCI Design Award. 

June 28, 2024

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