Sea Life Aquarium, London

Type: Refurbishment and fit-out
Value: £2m
Duration: 26 weeks

Phased revamp of renowned national attraction to deliver world-class aquatic experience.

We were the main contractor for the Sea Life London Aquarium; undertaking a revamp of the iconic Thames-side County Hall in London. The phased works ensured visitors could enjoy full access to the aquarium throughout the programme.

On the ground floor of the three-storey building, a new entrance and reception area was formed leading on to a new ocean walkway, giving visitors their first glimpse of marine life. Continuing on, the scariest attraction created was the Shark Walk; a floating glass platform where visitors can experience sharks swimming below their feet.

In the basement, the fresh water tanks were upgraded with themed areas: a new play zone and education area was created with an AV theatre; a new photo area and redemption point was provided; female toilet facilities were refurbished to DDA requirements, and new male toilet facilities were installed.

The sub-basement required a refurbishment of the stingray pool and the formation of a new walkway to provide 360° viewing around the realistic shoreline setting of timber and stone.

A shipwreck zone with viewing panels into the Pacific tank provides a fascinating educational area for visiting groups – and to bring the sea world even closer, we constructed a 25m glass tunnel in the base of a 7m high tank, encased in a whale skeleton travelling through a tropical ocean of coral and fish.

As well as the formation of many new tanks, the extensive works included two new lift shafts from the sub-basement and the subsequent installation of new lifts; the refurbishment of existing lifts; and the construction of a new stairway. Many mechanical and electrical alterations and modifications were required, including AV installations and specialist themed lighting throughout.

The works were completed on-programme despite the many obstacles to overcome, which included heavy structural modifications and the restraints of a listed building. We worked closely with the Sea Life team to optimise the ongoing public experience during the construction process; assisting with the attraction’s media coverage by facilitating numerous press and media visits, and various pre-booked corporate events which took place.