The Two Oceans Aquarium opened its doors in 1995 and prides itself on being open 365 days a year. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Cape Town and houses over 3 000 living sea animals, including sharks, fishes, turtles and penguins.
In April 2014, Aurecon was appointed as the structural, civil and wet services engineer on a new large-scale exhibit as well as the complete refurbishment of the two main exhibits at the aquarium.
The walls of the existing I&J Predator Exhibit and the Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit were built with a waterproof lining intended to provide defence against water ingress. Soon after opening, this waterproof lining started coming away from the concrete in certain areas and, in 1999, aquarium staff started monitoring the ingress of chlorides into the concrete. By 2013, contamination in some areas was found to be beyond acceptable levels.
Aurecon was contracted to develop a strategy that rendered the tanks structurally safe for the short term (3-5 years). This involved reinforcing critical areas by attaching custom shaped steel plates. This strategy was implemented in 2013 in order to ensure that the aquarium remained operational and open to the public. To extend the tanks’ life for at least a further 30 years, however, a complete refurbishment of the tanks is necessary.
The highly complex refurbishment programme of the older tanks minimises the need for major demolition. It involves remedial work to the existing concrete, the rebuilding of the concrete rebates for the acrylic viewing panels, the installation of a galvanic protection system and, finally, a full concrete re-lining of the inside of the tanks. This programme will commence in 2015.
In order to house many of the animals in the current two main exhibits, an extension project in the form of a new large scale exhibit is underway. It will house large ocean predators and will aid in drawing crowds while the existing tanks undergo refurbishment.
Aurecon is proud to be working on a project that showcases the best of the continent’s sea life. The Two Oceans Aquarium is a key tourist attraction in Cape Town and Aurecon looks forward to helping ensure it continues to operate as a beacon of excellence.