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New York Aquarium, Saltwater Tank Enclosure


The New York Aquarium was founded in 1896 and is one of the oldest aquariums in the country. It currently operates on 14 acres in Coney Park, NY. It features several tension and tensile canopy structures, and for almost a decade, Signature Structures has serviced them all, including major renovations of two sites, including the an indoor saltwater tank that holds many animals including sharks and sea rays. The original roof of the structure was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy and it was imperative that the closely controlled interior environment of the tank building be preserved.

The Challenge

Obviously, the tanks inside the structure could not be disturbed during the repairs, and the site where the structure is located is very tight, with many other surrounding buildings making access difficult. A new tension fabric roof needed to be designed, engineered, manufactured and integrated into the existing walls of the structure.

Roof Of Saltwater NY enclosure

The Solution

Signature performed a complete engineering review of the existing building and designed a custom 6,000 square foot roof system including corrosion resistant epoxy painted steel trusses and highly durable PVC membranes that could stand up to the harsh salt water environment and resist UV rays while allowing enough natural light to penetrate to provide a bright interior environment. Signature highly trained crews of technicians installed the structure under extraordinary conditions.

Inside Roof Of NY Saltwater enclosure

The Result

The structure was restored to complete usability and functionality and remains an integral part of aquarium operations. The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Aquarium as well as all New York zoos, was extremely pleased with the work and has used Signature on many subsequent projects.

Check out our Tensile Application Projects or contact one of our experts for assistance with your next tensile application or structure maintenance needs.

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Saltwater tanks in NY enclosure