engineering an aquariumIt's one thing to buy a large aquarium for the home, put some plants on the bottom and fill it with 10 to 15 fish. It's quite another thing to design, engineer and build a 30,000-square-foot, two-story aquarium with 30 salt- and fresh-water displays. Many types of engineering come into play on a large-scale project such as the new SEA LIFE Aquarium at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. Read on to found out who it takes to engineer an aquarium.

Architectural Designers

These men and women bring the style to a construction project. It's their job to come up with the overall concept of what the new building will look like. They marry form and function. On a project such as this one, architectural designers have spent time laying out the non-aquatic aspects of the building. They came up with the initial concepts for the two-story aquarium and presented it to their client. They will continue to work with the engineers on the project all the way until its completion to ensure that the aesthetics of the aquarium are maintained in conjunction with the functionality.

Mechanical Engineers

If it's got an engine, mechanical engineers will likely get their hands on it. This group of engineers will work to make certain that anything with a motor keeps running and doesn't work against any other mechanical systems on the project. They handle the work that comes with designing a system that keeps each tank in the aquarium clean, at the correct temperature and containing the correct salt- or fresh-water levels. Because aquatic systems are delicate, it will require specific calculations to maintain balance in each ecosystem. The balance will be preserved artificially by motors and pumps, the main reason why mechanical engineers must ensure complete accuracy in their calculations.

Electrical Engineers

Without the proper amount of power, none of the delicate ecosystems that are created will survive. Electrical engineers are responsible for making sure the electrical systems run smoothly. They work hand in hand with mechanical engineers to monitor the electrical output and input needed for motors, pumps, lights and more. They calculate how much power it takes to keep all manner of aquatic life alive and thriving in a fabricated environment.


Construction Project Managers

Think of these guys as the “mayors” of the project. A construction project manager is an intermediary between the engineers and designers and the construction crew tasked with implementing all of the mechanical, electrical and architectural designs. They're great communicators and know how to bridge the gap between industry terms and an everyday vocabulary. They spend most of their time thinking less about fish and more about concrete.