The world’s tallest cylindrical aquarium housing an elevator ride and walk-through tunnel debuted at the new Oceania Mall in Moscow, Russia. The 24 meter tall acrylic aquarium designed and built by International Concept Management (ICM), is now the focal point for the state-of-the-art shopping center in Russia’s capital city.
ICM designed the aquarium to offer an engaging experience and serve as the centerpiece for shoppers at the mall. To achieve this, ICM designed and built an aquarium that would be architecturally stunning, yet completely immerse guests in an underwater environment.
The result is an aquarium 24 meters tall and 10 meters wide, holding 900,000 liters of saltwater. ICM has extensive experience with complex engineering and sophisticated designs, but the Oceania Mall Aquarium challenged the team and pushed the boundaries of creativity. ICM’s design team added additional viewing port holes at the bottom of the aquarium and a walk-through tunnel as visitors exit the panoramic elevator on the top floor of the mall.
ICM not only designed, built, and commissioned the record-setting aquarium but managed the installation in its entirety. Fifty-six total pieces of acrylic were shipped to Moscow and bonded together in specially built technical rooms, a temperature-sensitive process that was successfully carried out despite it being the middle of winter in Moscow.
The acrylic pieces were so heavy once they were bonded together, the largest crane in Russia was required to lift the pieces from the technical rooms into their final location inside the shopping mall. The entire process from design through completion took approximately fifteen months.
“Many aspects of this project were quite technical and challenging, but we had considerable experience to rely on,” said Andrius Vengalis, ICM’s on-site Project Manager. “Our team executed this project perfectly and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the Oceania Mall Aquarium.”
The filtration system is located beneath the aquarium and was specifically designed to be hydraulically stable to maximize the integrity of the aquarium. The filtration system is a fully modular design, where practically any component may be adjusted without altering the function of the others.
“The Oceania Mall Aquarium has a complex geometry and an advanced underwater decoration that creates an impressive view but also provides a challenge to proper water circulation. Water supply was therefore divided into many outlet points and spread throughout the aquarium, leading to a healthy environment at every corner of the tank.” explained Aquarium Director, Eric Mathewson.
There are over 3,200 artificial corals installed in the tank to create a realistic environment for the thousands of aquatic animals living inside. The elevator, which is the tallest hydraulic elevator in the world, brings guests face-to-face with 50 different species of sharks, rays, and fish, and is open to the public during normal mall hours.