Huge concrete tanks were constructed in record time for the Georgia Aquarium.
Huge concrete tanks were constructed in record time for the Georgia Aquarium.

On groundbreaking day for the Georgia Aquarium, May 29, 2003, the Brasfield & Gorrie design-build team stood looking at the barren 10-acre site recently cleared to make way for the mammoth structure. To build an aquarium on this spot in 2.5 years seemed like an impossible challenge. Today, at 500,000 square feet, the aquarium is one for the record books, twice the size of any other in the United States and built in half the time a project of this magnitude would normally take.

The aquarium consumed almost 100,000 cubic yards of concrete—enough to build a 100-story office tower. The Open Ocean tank contains 4.5 million gallons—to fill it with a garden hose would take one year. Teams of 15 workers rubbed every square inch of the tanks' floors and walls to ensure they were smooth and dust-free.

After completing the last of the concrete tanks, a major design change was made to the wall of fish. Approximately 100 cubic yards of concrete had to be removed and 170 cubic yards cast back, to add 120 square feet of viewing area to each of the twin tanks. Nonetheless, the work was completed without affecting the project schedule.