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National Sea Simulator Up for AIA QLD Award

Meinhardt provided Building Services Engineering for the Australian Institute of Marine Science's world-class facility which enables scientists to conduct cutting-edge research not previously possible in Australia.

Using SeaSim, Australian and international scientists can research the impact of complex environmental changes with large, long-term, experiments in which they can manipulate key environmental factors.

It has been shortlisted in the Public Architecture Category of the prestigious Australian Institute of Architects (QLD) awards.

A significant part of the commission included participation in the development of various laboratory arrangements, in conjunction with AIMS’s scientists, before detailed systems and controls design could proceed.

The scheme required BIM Modelling, in conjunction with the architect and other consultants on the team to provide a highly co-ordinated design from the outset, with different design team members being based in Townsville, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth adding a further level of complexity to the project delivery. The BIM output will also be utilised by AIMS as part of their asset management toolbox for the working life of the buildings and systems on the project

There were individual technical issues, such as achieving tight tolerances on temperature, humidity and air velocities in the Controlled Environment Rooms, which are the key experimental spaces. The mechanical system design needs to maintain a uniform temperature without stratifying, which is unusual.

The different types of experimental work to be carried out required investigation of different light sources to simulate daylight at different seawater depths in enclosed spaces, including the use of LED and plasma light sources, which required developing specifications for new light fittings to suit the project’s specific requirements. Varying the intensity and spectrum of the light through the artificial ‘day’ is critical in terms of coral growth, so there has been an emphasis on controlling the lighting directly from the experimental controls.

SeaSim by Numbers:

  • 3 000 000 litres filtered seawater pumped per day (at full capacity)
  • 3 650 000 litres of bulk seawater storage capacity
  • 3022 m2 of floor area
  • 28.2 km of pipework
  • >140 seawater pumps
  • 33 seawater processing tanks.

AIMS-SeaSim-Reef-Tanks AIMS-National-Sea-Simulator