Beginning Friday, December 12, crews worked non-stop for 24 hours, 48 minutes and 59 straight seconds, to place over 1,200 cubic yards (120 trucks) of concrete, making up more than 9,000 square feet of tank surface area, filling the walls of the massive cone-shaped Gulf Stream tank aquarium and marking the Museum’s biggest milestone in construction to date. The 500,000 gallon tank, open to the sun and sky, will serve as the centerpiece of the new Museum. Not only will this be the city’s newest iconic landmark, but also one of the most complex projects currently being undertaken in the United States. In addition to the erection of monumental amounts of shoring and formwork, impressive in and of itself, the laborious groundwork included the installation of over 370 tons of epoxy coated steel reinforcement intertwined by a web of 57 pipes containing over 700 high strength post tensioning cables that generate over 14,000 tons of compression force into the concrete to prevent cracking once poured. Stepping onto the outdoor top level of the Living Core once the Museum opens in 2016, visitors will encounter the 100-foot open surface of the tank vessel to catch glimpses of marine creatures such as hammerhead sharks and tunas.
One of the most significant achievements in architectural design and one whose shape alone has never been done before, the form will come to life later this week as the wet blanket is removed, and the dried and settled concrete is revealed. The tank is now prepared to support over 4 million pounds of sea water and… SHARKS! Complex in its conical shape, inclination and suspension, as well as a 30-foot diameter oculus at the bottom of the basin, the shape is energy-efficient and ideal for sharks as there are no sharp corners, maximizing the cruising surface while reducing the amount of water – it’s not just the view that’s great.
This milestone means the Museum is officially more than half-way through construction and on track to open its doors in the summer of 2016. In a city where construction cranes dominate the skyline, this Museum is undeniably the most elaborate project being built in Miami, and we’re excited to celebrate key milestones with you.