Out With the Old and in With the New Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Custom Aquarium
Aquarium Dimensions: 162″ long x 56″ wide x 60″ high Custom S-Curve Aquarium
The main lobby to the Children’s Hospital Boston Campus has been the home to a pair of 500 gallon saltwater glass aquariums for over 15 years. The two aquariums have gone through many changes over the years as they were originally installed as freshwater aquariums, then were given an interior decorative facelift, and a few years after were switched over to saltwater in an effort to make them more interesting to the visitors as they passed through the lobby. By the time the hospital was starting to think about renovating the entire lobby, they were considering removing the aquariums altogether.
In January 2013, Children’s Hospital ultimately decided they wanted the aquarium to remain in the lobby, and the architectural firm in charge of the project proposed creating an entirely new aquarium system to blend into the new lobby design. This new aquarium posed a multitude of design challenges, from the size and shape of the aquarium, to the remote Life Support System Room in the basement.
Living Color Aquariums, the fabricator of the aquarium and the custom synthetic reef, partnered with us to design, fabricate and install the entire system. This aquarium represents many firsts for Aqua Vision Tech – it is the first fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) aquarium that we have installed, it is the largest aquarium system we maintain, and it is the first aquarium with an entire room strictly dedicated to Life Support Equipment which is located 14 vertical feet down, and 60 horizontal feet away from the display aquarium. Needless to say, this project was challenging from design all the way through installation!!
The children who are patients at the Children’s Hospital even had a hand in helping design the custom synthetic reef system. They were all asked to submit ideas for what the interior of the tank should look like. The Art department with in the hospital then assembled all of these ideas, and generated a list of items – some are from the childrens’ ideas, some are iconic symbols of the Boston area, all are artistically “hidden” in the reef, providing some entertainment other than just watching the fish.
The week long installation of the aquarium started in the overnight hours when the hospital was at it’s quietest time, although since the aquarium is positioned so close to the Emergency Room entrance, it never truly is quiet. Moving the aquarium into the building required two forklifts to remove it from the truck and transfer it onto hydraulic moving tables. Once the aquarium was in place, it still took several days to install the Life Support Equipment, hook up all the plumbing and electrical connections, pressure test everything, and finally fill the aquarium with water.
All in all, the end result of the project is stunning, and we are very happy that Children’s Hospital Boston elected to keep the aquarium system in the design of their new lobby.