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Seattle Aquarium: Major Upgrade to City’s Waterfront

Seattle Aquarium: Major Upgrade to City’s Waterfront


Seattle aquarium is one of the city’s premier attractions, bringing in more than 850,000 visitors per year. During the transformation of Seattle’s central waterfront, planners decided to build a new 50,000-square-foot ocean pavilion exhibit space for the aquarium that would feature sharks, rays, and other animals. The roof of the pavilion would transform into a public plaza that overlooks the Seattle oceanfront, complete with walkways and greenery.

To accommodate construction, the city of Seattle temporarily shifted the roadway near the aquarium, placing it in close proximity to the construction site. That meant formwork closest to the roadway spanned over two lanes of traffic. With an active highway below the construction site, safety for workers became paramount.

To manage these challenging circumstances and meet the unique design and performance requirements for the addition, the project team turned to the expertise of PERI USA for custom scaffolding, formwork, and shoring systems.

“With the challenge of the location of this project, it was necessary that parts of our systems would have to span over the roadway”, said Barry Humphreys, sales engineer at PERI. “PERI UP scaffolding extended over the highway parallel to the side and allowed us to meet restrictions that required a narrow width while being cost effective.”

A Roadmap for Innovation and Safety 

For the core of the building, planners selected 21,000 square feet of VARIOWall Formwork as the primary vertical wall formwork supporting the main tank wall. The girder wall formwork components allow the crew to adapt to the flexibility for any project specifications. The VST Civil Heavy Duty shoring system became an important component in certain areas of the building to support heavy transfer of central loads. The heavy shoring tower can be easily raised and lowered when loaded with the design of the head spindle and mobile hydraulics.  Heavy duty shoring towers and wide-span lattice girders can be systematically assembled with bolted connections and pre-assembled tower segments.

VARIOKIT is compatible with the PERI UP scaffolding system, allowing access points, and working platforms to be installed quickly and safely. PERI UP (3,400 square feet) supported the roadway protection and allowed for a wide range of ledgers and decks with different lengths to change direction during installation. PERI UP can be quickly and safely mounted with a gravity lock and self-locking decks. By inserting the wedge head into the rosette, the wedge drops by the force of gravity, quickly locking, Installation adaptability allowed the product to suit the project-specific layout of the building, delivering maximum performance.

“PERI UP allows us to achieve a taller height and form while keeping flexibility in our design,” Humphreys added. “At those heights, ensuring safer installation of products allows us to be more efficient with shoring at those heights.”

5,400 square feet of MULTIFLEX was used on the horizontal slab of the tank, providing the ideal solution, freedom of position, and spacing for lower rising points that supported the complicated ground plan. Providing additional flexibility on high load bearing for large spans, MULTIFLEX fits into complicated ground plans, as well as forming operations in confined spaces.

Lastly, SKYDECK, a panel slab formwork system, allowed the project team to eliminate utilizing any plywood. Eliminating the use of plywood keeps construction costs low while supplying a safe, efficient shoring system. SKYDECK is available on the market with no system component weighing more than 35 pounds in combination with systematic assembly and integral, rentable plywood.

Making Waves

Construction on the Seattle Aquarium began In July 2022. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in December 2023.

Designer and Supplier of Form Solution: Janicki Industries

Contractor: Turner Construction

Location: Seattle, WA






Customer’s Benefits

Allows shortest assembly and cycle times with minimum formwork sets

Maximum adaptability to suit project-specific geometries

Lightweight, easy to handle components