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The largest Aquarium in Europe is in Genoa

Costa Edutainment SpA


The Acquario di Genova has the richest display of aquatic biodiversity in Europe.

Over 70 environments and around 12,000 specimens of 600 species from all the world’s seas. From rare ones such as manatees, the mythical mermaids, to dolphins; from penguins to sharks. And then jellyfish, seals and colourful tropical fish.


In 2008, Costa Edutainment SpA, with the intention of giving more space to the sea creatures housed inside the Genoa Aquarium, hired the internationally renowned architect Renzo Piano to design the new Cetacean Pavilion (www.acquariodigenova.it/padiglione-cetacei). This undertaking therefore required the support of skilled specialists in complex installations.

The design of the electrical and air-conditioning systems for the new structure, which, like a reinforced concrete ship, was built away from the site, transported by sea to the Porto Antico and then gently laid on the seabed along the Spinola pier, represented a delicate engineering task, considering also the need to keep the existing facilities operational to protect the survival of the marine species already present.

Experience, professionalism, flexibility and sincere dedication were necessarily required to meet this challenge.

The prestigious assignment appealed to many, but our specific experience in large aquariums, proven by the design of the electrical, air conditioning and water systems of the D. Cestoni Aquarium in Livorno, was preferred.

Thanks to the work of Planex and its design of the electrical, air conditioning and refrigeration systems, the Cetacean Pavilion is fully operational and comfortable.

Achievements include

– the maintenance of 4.5 million litres of water at the appropriate temperature for the cetaceans, respecting the limited space available for the installation of the heating plants.

– the exploitation, by means of heat pumps, of the renewable energy of the sea in view of the corrosive power and the possibility of clogging caused by sea water.

– the positioning of the Transformation Cabin for the electrical project and the housing of the machines and air ducts for the air conditioning system project.

These challenges were met through the development of detailed dynamic energy modelling of the entire structure!

Now, thanks in part to Planex and its design of the electrical installations and air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, when you enter the Cetacean Pavilion your breath stops for a moment and your heart begins to beat faster.

The four open-air tanks house a social nucleus of bottlenose dolphins, the coastal dolphins.

An extraordinary window on the Cetacean Sanctuary, the largest Marine Protected Area in the Mediterranean Sea, which allows you to observe the dolphins up close thanks to a 24-metre-long glass wall and an impressive 15-metre-long underwater tunnel.

Location: Ponte degli Spinola – Genoa

Features: The new structure is located between the Nave Italia and the main body and is a total of 23 metres high (like a seven-storey building) most of which is immersed in water, 94 metres long, 30 metres wide and houses four tanks with a total volume of 4800 cubic metres of water.

Works Designed: Installations: Electrical Power, Summer and Winter Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Fire Extinguishing, Lighting, Fire and Gas Detection, CCTV, Telephony/Data, Automation and Building Management, Cold and Heat Production, Heat Recovery.

Duration of works: 2009 – 2013.

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