It could be mistaken for a modern-day lighthouse, the 175-foot-tall Welcome Center along Florida’s eastern coast. Only, the Port Canaveral center’s purpose is not to warn people away, but to attract the many thousands of cruise ship passengers passing each year through the local port, among the nation’s largest.
In the past, those visitors would spend little time in the local area with its limited attractions. But our repeat client, the Canaveral Port Authority, hopes that this tower of funky architecture – packed with exhibits of the area’s shipping and aerospace heritage and with amazing views from a top-level observation deck – will entice people to stay. The Welcome Center will house exhibit areas, auditorium and office spaces.
One of the biggest challenges is the unique design, which includes an exposed three-point curved tube steel canopy extending 70 feet above the seventh-floor observation deck. The entire structure also curves along one side, evoking either a rocket lifting off from nearby Kennedy Space Center, a giant wave or a ship’s hull. Building information modeling (BIM) was critical to the design and manufacturing of the structure’s curved metal cladding, which is coated with a color-shifting finish that will look differently depending on light levels.