When Losberger U.S. LLC began construction on a 5,500-square-foot mono-pitch tent pavilion for the New Orleans City Park, project designers were in for a squeeze. The tent would stand between two permanent buildings, giving the structure less than an inch of clearance on either side. “I’d have to say one of the biggest accomplishments was making it work,” says project manager Brian Kordek of Losberger U.S.
The new multipurpose event venue, a submission in the Tent Rental Division’s 2012 Award of Excellence competition, replaced a rentable event venue destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Before severe flooding wiped out most of the park in August 2005, the 1,300-acre green space located in the heart of New Orleans was frequented by almost 11 million visitors each year. Since the storm, park officials have worked to both restore and improve the facilities.
The site of the new structure is Popp Fountain, a historic landmark built in 1937. The fountain was also damaged by the storm and sat idle and overgrown for more than a year before it was restored.
Park planners had several criteria for the new structure. Not only did the tent have to reflect the aesthetics of the park and offer an unobstructed view of the recently restored landscape and fountain, it had to accommodate between 200 and 650 people and have air conditioning.
Completed in 40 days, the most challenging aspect of the project was making the tent as weathertight as possible. Insulated roof panels, an insulated roof liner developed specifically for the project and a hard wall help to manage the temperature and conserve the cool air provided by a complete HVAC system.
The permanent buildings that flank the tent provide housing for plumbing and catering, so the pavilion is maximized for event space. Glass walls offer an expansive view of the surrounding park, but can be removed in severe weather. If needed, the entire structure can be dismantled and relocated.
“I’ve been working in the tent business for 30-plus years and thinking outside the box on a tent project is always fun,” Kordek says.
The project was finished in August 2011, and according to park officials, the venue has been booked through the end of 2012.