Moody Gardens Aquarium
Galveston, Texas
Best Project

Owner: Moody Gardens
Lead Design Firm: WorkTM
General Contractor: Gilbane Building Co.
Structural Engineer: Walter P Moore
MEP Engineer: Bury/Stantec
Consultant Architect: Eckles Architecture
Life Safety System: TJP Engineering
Animal Exhibit Consultant: PJA Architects
Visitor Exhibit Consultant: Ralph Appelbaum Associates
Lighting Consultant: BOS Lighting Design

After eight years in design and a demanding two-year, nine-phase construction schedule, the Moody Gardens Aquarium now welcomes guests to an undersea world.

All the existing major exhibits, including penguins, seals and large tanks, were inhabited during the renovation, and each received new lighting and upgrades. Teams also polished and resealed the tanks, upgraded major mechanical systems and performed back-of-house work.

A miniature oil rig houses the life-support systems for a two-story-tall tank filled with fish from the Gulf of Mexico. But to get the two parts of the miniature rig through the front door—one of them 13-ft tall, the other 26-ft tall—the team had to remove an interior beam and open the roof to place a crane with a cantilevered beam through the hole.

The design team, owner and contractor worked closely with Moody personnel—including biologists, maintenance staff and outside experts—on what the scope of the project would be. The design remained fluid at times during construction because many of the original project drawings were destroyed during Hurricane Ike.

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