The Crest at Galvez Plaza is a 65,000-lb, 35-ft-tall cantilevered steel sculpture, and one of the final pieces of Baton Rouge's citywide revitalization effort to transform the area into a pedestrian-friendly, cultural green space.

Photo by Sam Barnes
The Crest at Galvez Plaza

Contractor Arrighi Construction led work on the $900,000 revitalization project, which went through multiple design iterations to translate the architect's design into reality while also maintaining structural stability.

The Crest will also serve as a functional performance stage cover that supports lighting and sound equipment. The design consists of a series of 14-ft-long hollow steel segments with a very complex geometry on a simple skeletal frame. Longitudinal plates provide support.

There was no precedent to follow when designing and building The Crest, leaving the architect, engineer, contractor and fabricator to work together on a new path forward.

Beginning in June 2012, Kansas City Steel began fabricating the sections and shipping them to the site in the order of their planned erection. The sculpture comprises 16,700 sq ft of steel. Each steel-framed hollow section is triangular in shape, with no sides the same, and is covered in stainless steel cladding. The sections arrived at the site with two of three sides already clad in their exterior stainless steel skin.

The Crest's base section contains a large steel truss that connects to Galvez Plaza with anchor bolts and distributes the loads exerted by the structure. The base also contains the strongest steel, at 3 in. thick. The steel transitions downward in thickness for each subsequent section and reaches a minimum thickness of only 0.25 in. With the base section in place, Arrighi crews bolted and welded subsequent pieces on either side. The base section connections were critical, so full-penetration, 100% X-rayed welds were specified.

Arrighi ran into issues when the final piece of the structure, located at the highest point of The Crest, would not line up properly. Arrighi opted to switch to a local fabricator and tweak the design in the field.

When the original bid for The Crest project came in at more than $1.5 million, Arrighi worked with the fabricator and designer to reduce the cost of the structure by value engineering it to come in under budget. The final contract was $899,995.

Key Players

General Contractor Arrighi Construction LLC, Baton Rouge, La.

Owner City of Baton Rouge, La.

Lead Design Trahan Architects, New Orleans

Structural KH Engineering Group, Lenexa, Kan.