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Building Project: Interior Constructions Print

Without the caves and walls the Underwater Park would be merely an excavated hole, just like any other. From the very beginning we aimed to give scuba divers a great experience.
A prerequisite for this is, of course, that you can dive through a variety of landscapes that cannot be found outside of the Underwater Park.
This is how we developed the concept of caves, rock formations, light effects and so on. The rock walls are 1-2m wide at the bottom and often 6m high - this means that they create a massive load for the liner seal.
From the air the Underwater Park looks like an antique excavation site. (Image taken in spring 2005).

The Slopes
In order to distribute loads more evenly, most slopes were built in terraces. Especially in shallow areas this makes for interesting spots for water lilies and other underwater plants.
We used mostly large boulders that weighed between 200 and 800kg. Different sizes were also mixed so as to attain a very irregular surface on the slope.
Terraces prevent the entire rock load from arriving at the base of the wall.
The slopes were covered with large rocks. This creates many small hollows for fish, crabs etc.

In areas where larger loads were to be expected, the corners were reinforced.
The gap between wall and rock was filed with concrete.
Long walls with many holes are hiding places for animals - and surprises for divers.

The Caves
The caves offer the clearest contrast to largely bare quarry ponds and flooded gravel pits. Natural caves, however, always pose a serious safety risk, because an emergency exit is impossible and rising mud often makes orientation difficult. Therefore it was clear from the beginning that we would build caves that would provide a great experience and maximum safety.
For cave we first always made a base construction from structural steel.
These steel constructs were much admired 'works of art' during the building phase.

Especially the lateral openings and reinforcements contain bizarre steel structures.
Then the walls were built with two sided shuttering formwork. Some are 6m high.
The interior was then filled with concrete - this is the actual load bearing construction.

The irregular shape of the ceiling is due to erecting formwork with bales of straw.
The formwork is covered with smaller stones that are later held in place by the surrounding concrete.
Thus a natural cave ceiling is created. All the caves have this natural stone surface.

The loads from the dome are supported by massive abutments.
Some have chimney-like hollow spaces.
Other abutments are arc-shaped.

The Cave of Light is a 40m long hall.
The western cave has the best light effects.
In the eastern cave are various systems of corridors.

The 'Reef Walls'
Apart from the caves there are reef-like systems of cliffs. They subdivide the Underwater Park into differently themed areas. The construction principle is the same: Two sided natural stone wall shuttering filled with concrete. Mostly, the walls are contorted or have reinforcing ribs.
The walls divide the Underwater Park into differently themed areas.
They rise 6m vertically upward and have countless crevices and hollows.