May 16, 2020

5 Innovative underwater builds

Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Oceanarium tunnel, Dubai Aquarium
A lot of focus is placed on innovative, spacious buildings which are constructed on land, with the utilisation of various different building materials t...

A lot of focus is placed on innovative, spacious buildings which are constructed on land, with the utilisation of various different building materials to create unique designs. We take a look at five innovative builds which are situated underwater, providing a unique experience for all who visit, viewing aquatic life within its natural environment or providing sustainable alternatives within agriculture.  

Ocean Aquarium, Shanghai

Officially opening in 2002, the Ocean Aquarium in Shanghai displays a variety of exhibitions, with over 400 aquatic species for visitors to enjoy.

Constructed to incorporate 9 different sections, the aquarium is the only one to include rare species situated within China, which have originated from the Yangtze River.

The 20,500 square metre build is one of the most popular tourist sites within Shanghai.

Water Discus Hotel, Dubai

Popular with water sport enthusiasts, the Water Discus Hotel in Dubai contains 21 hotel rooms, a restaurant, garden and swimming pools, amongst many other attractions.

Developed by Deep Ocean Technology, the hotel is supported through fixtures implanted into the seabed.

The two discs provide a unique stay within Dubai through its construction, enabling visitors to view a variety of aquatic life and coral reefs. 

Nemos Garden

Developed by Sergio Gamberini from Ocean Reef Group, Nemo’s Garden has highlighted the possibility of growing plants and vegetable sources underwater.

The company’s plan to implant seeds within a vase, situated within sunken balloons full of air was the first experiment of its kind. 

Since its conception, the company have changed their methods to incorporate acrylic biospheres and inclusion of sophisticated technologies, which can be utilised in aquariums around the world.

Subsix, Maldives

Opening in 2012, the Subsix Restaurant within the Maldives is only accessible by boat, creating increased privacy whilst dining guests can view all aquatic life within the Indian Ocean.

Constructed five feet below, glass has been utilised throughout to provide a unique experience. The restaurant is open for weddings, providing an exceptional backdrop. 

Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai

Situated within the Dubai Mall, the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo comprises of over 300 different species of aquatic life, including an array of sharks. Visitors can swim with the sharks or undertake a cage snorkelling experience.

In addition, visitors can walk around the three different sections of the zoo, located above the aquarium, providing a unique experience for all who visit.  

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Jun 17, 2021

Webuild and Lane to build railway in Texas

2 min
Italian construction firm Webuild and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction sign a US$16bn contract to build a railway in Texas

Webuild, formerly known as Salini Impregilo, has announced a US$16bn agreement to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas. The project has been described as the “final step” before financial closure for the company, which Webuild said was“foreseen in the coming months”. 

Passengers using the 236-mile long railway, which was developed by Texas LLC, will travel in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, making one scheduled stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University. This aims to shorten the total journey time between the two terminals from almost four hours to around 90 minutes, Texas LLC claims. The company hopes commercial operations will begin in 2026. 

According to Webuild, the new line will aim to target an estimated 100,000 “super commuters” who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 101,000 tonnes per year.

This contract is an update on a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, valued at $14bn. The deal confirms the US as Webuild's single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.

Around 17,000 new direct jobs will be created as a result of the project, as well as 20,000 indirect ones. U.S. suppliers from states aim to provide an estimated US$7.3bn of materials to construct the railway in conjunction with services provided by Italian suppliers. 

Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works of the project. This includes the tracks themselves, the viaducts, and depot buildings. 

Three facts about bullet trains 

  • The fastest commercially operated bullet train is not in Japan, but China. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 268mph… with passengers onboard. 
  • Bullet trains are one of the safest ways to travel. Over 10bn passengers have been on board a bullet train and no-one has ever been killed on one. 
  • The “tunnel boom effect” is powerful enough to blow a freight train over. When a bullet train exits a tunnel at over 200mph, the resulting sonic boom effect is so strong, it could blow a normal freight train off its tracks.


Image: Texas Central LLC.

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