The VA Aquarium, located in VA Beach, has quickly become one of the state's favorite and beloved institutions. We were asked to provide facility improvements and design an automatic gate and enclosure for the Aquarium's working service yard immediately adjacent to the front entry focus - The Harbor Seals.
As part of the project, (4) large Generators were installed to provide redundancy for the animal life support systems.
The gate and enclosure had to at once screen and maintain security for the service and working areas, but in following the Aquarium's philosophy, the new enclosure also wanted to provide glimpses into the work and care that goes on behind the scenes. The project needed to provide an attractive way to do both and guide visitors along the facility front to the main entrance.
Capacity: 60' cantilever gate
280' long x 12' tall decorative enclosure
Design + Construction: 9 months
Client: City of VA Beach, VA Aquarium
Aqua Life Screening
So much of what the Aquarium does is under appreciated. Maintaining artificial environments for aquatic life, care for the animals, and a great understanding of how much the place means to its visitors. Not to mention the fact that it sits on the water (literally) and is subject to a heavy marine environment.
We worked closely with fabricators to realize forms that could be wet jet cut from 1/2" aluminum plate. Using computer guided machines we were able to optimize the shapes and forms such that the postives and negatives of the cut out could be inverted and work as parts of a seemingly (but not really) random pattern.
The animal forms are silhouettes of life found just inside the aquarium.