Interior Design

QAMUS Aquarium and Shipwreck Museum

Ethar Solaiman
Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University in Alexandria

Project idea

QAMUS is an aquarium and shipwreck museum that aims to deliver an impression of experiencing life under water. The museum inspires its name from the Arabic word “QAMUS” which means: “the great sea” or “the deepest point of the sea”. Thus, QAMUS tells a story of an underwater realm reaching to its deepest point through making use of the nature of the project site environment – Al Galala City – located by the Red Sea. Lighting colors are inspired from the complementary color palette of this area, from warm-toned, rocky mountains to the blue and teal shades of the sea. Neutral colors are used for the main elements, such as wall, floor, ceiling and claddings.

Project description

The design lines concept is inspired from the flow lines of the schools of fish, as well as the flow lines of sea waves and mountains contour lines of topography. This appears through floor and ceiling lines, wall claddings and most importantly aquarium tanks. Tanks are located in the museum so as to provide a panoramic experience to the visitors without visual barriers.

According to the "Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030", the new city “Al Galala” is specially chosen because of its unique location by the Red Sea, which includes some of the rarest and most diverse variety of coral reefs of which 70% are on the verge of becoming extinct in the next 50 years. Accordingly, the project sheds the light on spreading awareness of the coral reefs nature and how to deal with them. The Red Sea also has some of the most interesting shipwrecks that date back to the Second World War, such as the British shipwreck “SS Thistlegorm” which is displayed and highlighted in a separate hall.

•GROUND FLOOR: Includes the main entrance, Reception, Lounge, auditorium, aquarium tanks halls, courtyard, café, and a second Coastal entrance.
Extension building 1: The museum Library.
•FIRST FLOOR: 3D Printed Exhibition, Scientific Exhibition, Red Sea Awareness, Administrative Reception counter, Lounge, Administrative Section, Research lab.

Technical information

(The Exterior Building form is based on Bee'ah headquarters by Zaha Hadid Architects)
- The CONSTRUCTION of the building is mainly STEEL STRUCTURE including trusses, rafts and barriers. Two main materials are used for internal and external finishes which are GRC (glass reinforced concrete) and GRP (glass reinforced plastic) with veneers of timber or other alternatives of thickness from 0.5 mm to 3 mm. GRP is used for its special ability to achieve highly accurate, complex curves in design lines, with carvings of Arabic letters calligraphy.
- The foyer Dome is a double-curved shell of mainly uniform concrete. Its lighting is made of geometric shapes carvings with aluminum sheets and LED lights inside. Strip LED lights are also used in walls, floor and ceiling.
- The tanks material is PLEXIGLASS acrylic which is designed to endure water pressure and scratches with thickness up to 45 cm. It also achieves the required transparency that can’t be achieved by glass of the same thickness.

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