Hilton Hawaiian Village, LLC


Belt Collins


Honolulu, Hawaii


This unique project was designed to combine a multi-species aquarium in a water park type setting enabling the attraction's visitors to experience the aquarium by swimming through it. Special features included a horizontal separation of the main exhibit tank from the shark tank allowing visitors to swim over the sharks.

Client Benefits

The client was most interested in minimizing initial construction costs without adversely impacting the long-term maintenance and upkeep costs. Over 10,000 cubic yards of concrete would be required to create the structural shell. Furthermore, a special concrete mix was created to resist the intrusion of corrosive salt water within the exhibit. In order to reduce the cost impact of this durable but expensive concrete mix, BASE also carefully evaluated which structural elements required the higher quality concrete, versus filler and ballast elements.

The Science and Design of Structural Engineering

Special buoyancy and dewatering studies were required to address the construction of the attraction within an existing lagoon below the water table. Upon completion, this feature would still need to take into consideration the impact of flooding during hurricanes as well as draining for maintenance. Hurricane or tsunami induced tidal surges can also cause supporting materials to be pulled, or scoured, from beneath a structure, and therefore, were a design consideration. BASE also examined a number of maintenance scenarios that would require emptying portions of the facility, and thus determined the ballast needed to counteract the exhibit's tendency to float when emptied.