Proj Overview

Project Overview

Administrators at the Adventure Aquarium wanted to visibly announce the new addition to their facility, part of a $53-million facelift, by making it whimsical while maintaining its scientific approach.

They also wanted to ensure it was energy efficient by using the most cost-effective means for insulating the large structure.

Precast Solution

The aquarium addition was clad with 38,000 square feet of architectural precast concrete insulated sandwich wall panels. Bright paint colors and dramatic signage attached to the panels draw visitors to the entrance.

The 41-foot-tall panels have 3-inch outer and inner wythes of concrete sandwiching 4 inches of foam insulation to deliver a healthy R-16 which significantly reduces Adventure Aquarium’s heating and cooling costs.

The panels replace conventional shear reinforcement with non-corrosive, high-strength C-GRID carbon fiber grid that connects the concrete wythes to create a structurally composite panel. The interior sides of panels feature a steel-trowel finish. for a smoother finish.


There are no records.
Project Team


Herschend Family Entertainment, Atlanta, Ga. 

Precast Producer and Precast Specialty Engineer 

Oldcastle Precast Building Systems, Edgewood, Md. 


Granary Associates, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Engineer of Record

O’Donnell & Naccarato Inc., Philadelphia, Pa. 

General Contractor

Whiting-Turning Contracting, Baltimore, Md. 

Key Project Attributes

  • Fabricating the precast concrete components under controlled conditions in the plant ensured high quality and tight tolerances, minimizing field adjustments and speeding up erection time.
  • Casting components off-site while site work was completed allowed precast concrete pieces to be ready for erection as soon as foundations were ready, speeding up construction.
  • Precast concrete’s aesthetic versatility provided an attractive look that provided a strong palette for the addition of paint colors and signage.
  • Carbon reinforcing won’t corrode or crack, allowing less concrete to be used as cover.
  • The panels’ lighter weight minimized crane requirements, preserved piece size, and kept erection costs under control.
  • Insulated sandwich wall panels offer R-16 energy value, reducing HVAC costs.
  • Structurally composite panels ensure no hot or cold spots in walls.
  • Panel sizes allowed access doors, double doors, and window openings to be cast into them, speeding construction.

Project/Precast Scope

  • $53-million facelift and addition to aquarium housing about 8,000 animals.
  • Addition contains three new exhibits, a food-service area, new main entry, gift shop, and restaurant.
  • 90,000 square feet of precast concrete architectural insulated sandwich panels, consisting of 3-inch interior and exterior wythes of concrete sandwiching 4-inch layer of foam insulation, providing R-16.