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Metal scales aquarium

Architecture firm Gould Evans Associates specified a colorized stainless steel cladding from McNICHOLS Co.'s Designer Textured Metals comprised of hundreds of metal tiles that resembles fish scales for The Florida Aquarium, Tampa, Fla.

Metal tiles installed like roof shingles replicate fish scales

Architecture firm Gould Evans Associates specified a colorized stainless steel cladding from McNICHOLS Co.'s Designer Textured Metals comprised of hundreds of metal tiles that resembles fish scales for The Florida Aquarium, Tampa, Fla. John Curran, AIA, Gould Evans Associates, says based on the angles of light, the cladding changes color from aquamarine to fuchsia to sea green, which suits the aquarium. "The realm of colors is perfect conceptually for the theme of the aquarium," he says.

The metal tiles wrap around the southwest exterior corner of Florida Aquarium's second level and cover approximately 1,500 square feet of a 70- foot exterior wall on the Vinik Channelside room, an event space with windows that projects about 18 inches beyond the base structure.

The 22-gauge steel cladding with Green Granex finish was trimmed into 16-inch-by-16-inch square tiles. The metal tiles overlap one another at the corners and were applied like roof shingles.

Cutler Associates was the general contractor for the project. Mike Tippy, Cutler Associates, says his company worked with Morrell Architectural Sheet Metal on fabricating the tiles. "The material slides in, one under the other, and interlocks, so only about 9-by-9 inches of the material is exposed," he says.

The metal tiles are attached above and below a row of 10-foot-tall windows and are connected with stainless steel screws to a wall assembly that includes a series of membranes over fire retardant plywood. The metal tiles are finished along the edge with a gutter frame of the same green, textured stainless steel.

The Florida Aquarium is located in Tampa's Channelside District adjacent to the Port of Tampa, a major shipping channel that carries cruise and cargo ships to and from the Gulf of Mexico. The district is also home to sporting and entertainment events that keep the area busy with tourists. The 9,000-square-foot addition included a 20,000-gallon stingray touch tank and conference and meeting space with water views.

John Muller, operations vice president at The Florida Aquarium, says the fish scale design feature is appropriate for the aquarium building and the area. "It blends in with the overall theme of the entire district, so the response has been overwhelmingly positive," he says.

General contractor: Cutler Associates, Tampa Architect: Gould Evans Associates, Tampa

Fabricator: Morrell Architectural Sheet Metal, Tampa

Metal tiles: McNICHOLS Co., Tampa, www.mcnichols.com