Visitors to the Pacific Seas Aquarium are greeted with a spiraling path that uses the site’s steep topography to guide the visitor down and around the tanks, allowing for multiple vantage points at various levels. There are four stepped levels of public gallery, culminating in a large event space with expansive views of the 250,000-gallon Baja Bay tank. The building also contains a 75,000-gallon exhibit of Northwest Waters highlighting Pacific Northwest marine life as well as classrooms, office space and additional exhibit space.
We provided structural design services to EHDD for the 34,000-square-foot, three-story aquarium, which opened in 2018.
- The tanks for exhibits and life support systems, such as the deaeration tanks, are concrete structures that also act as lateral support for the building.
- Support services and equipment are housed below the large Baja Bay tank concrete slab using captured space from the sloping site geometry, which reduced the overall footprint of the building.
- The exterior walls are architecturally exposed concrete walls that provide lateral and gravity support that work together with the interior tank walls to provide column free exhibit spaces. T
- The roof is framed with glulam beams and wood purlins with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Portions of the roof span with 30-inch-deep glulam beams to provide a column-free space for exhibits.