Ardurra designed the life support systems for the $40M Texas State Aquarium overlooking Corpus Christi Bay. The aquarium is dedicated to education, entertainment and to promoting the conservation and wide use of the aquatic resources of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The exhibit encourages visitors to interact with animals and obtain information on their encounters. The complexity of interaction of life in the Gulf unfolds before the visitor to show the wide range of creatures and habitats. Dynamic graphics, interactive video, and other media allows for an integrated view of the Gulf’s world and man-made elements such as marine culture, ocean engineering, oil exploration, sport and commercial fishing, and marine paleontology.
Live exhibits range from greatly magnified views of tiny crustaceans to a 130,000-gallon tank with a full-scale replica of an offshore oil rig. The project was completed within two years to avoid the loss of budgeted project funds. Fast-track design methods and numerous bid packages were used to facilitate the process.
A subsequent project for the Texas State Aquarium involved a major expansion to the existing facility. The staff at Ardurra designed the life support system for a $1.4M ridley sea turtle and river otter exhibit. A third expansion also included a 400,000-gallon natural seawater dolphin exhibit.
The exhibit provides both above and below water viewing of eight to ten adult dolphins. The tank is supplied with natural seawater from the adjoining bay. The design also included a new intake structure located on the aquarium’s existing pier, large foam fractionation units, bio-tower filtration, pressure filters, pressurized ozone contractors, a seawater intake system, and a unique inlet system for continuous cleaning of the pool bottom.