Innovative thinking underpins villa

Innovative thinking underpins villa
Jackson Engineering designed all the services that make the Muraka underwater vessel work - including air conditioning, ventilation, hydraulics, electrical and lighting.

Imagine lying in a comfortable bed within an aquarium secured 5 metres below the surface, while watching a parade of marine life casually swim by seemingly oblivious to their human spectators.
Surrounded by the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, schools of brightly coloured and patterned fi sh thread through a colourful coral reef that is the oceanic Garden of Eden.
Secure within a comfortable climate controlled environment you are rewarded with unobstructed views of an underwater world through curved acrylic viewing windows stretched over a steel framework.
A bedroom, living area, bathroom and walk-in wardrobe provide the human inhabitants a submariners dream—yet it is reality.
The vessel is part of the recently commissioned Muraka Underwater Hotel Suite on the exclusive Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, and a Kiwi company has played a key role in its development.
After success with two other world first underwater projects, Auckand based HVAC Solutions consultancy, Jackson Engineering Ltd was approached to be a part of the Muraka project.
With a reputation for being innovative and fundamental thinkers, Jackson Engineering was tasked with designing all the services that make the underwater vessel work – including air conditioning, ventilation, hydraulics, electrical and lighting.
“I’ve been tripping back and forwards frequently over the last couple of years,” says Lance Jimmieson, Jackson Engineering’s managing director.
“What the owners were looking to do was create an exclusive window into what they call the other half of the Maldives, which is under the ocean waves.”
The underwater section is coupled with an extensive overwater villa that includes two large bedrooms, a very luxurious Infinity Pool and room for up to four dedicated staff and security detail. Your choice of a spiral staircase or lift leads to the underwater vessel mounted on large concrete piles.
The underwater vessel is about 600cubic metres in volume and needs to weigh in excess of 600tonne to make sure it doesn’t fl oat. The design of the curved acrylic window features presented Jackson Engineering with a challenge because there was no textbook solution in designing for heat load in curved acrylic underwater.
“The sea runs at 29 degrees so we’re cooling all year round. We can get currents through even warmer than that. We were breaking new ground, so you have to think carefully.
“The risks were more around technical performance. We had to think about the fundamentals to make sure it was all going to plan but this is the third underwater project we’ve done so we had that experience.”
Environmental monitoring within the vessel was a key requirement within the underwater vessel to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for the occupants.
“With showers and toilets down stairs all waste water is collected into a tank. We designed the control system in the whole thing and its all monitored in New Zealand for early warnings of any problems.”
Lance is quick to point out that there was a high level of kiwi involvement in the project, saying that its that old Kiwi ‘can-do attitude and back to basics approach that gets things done.
The vessel design was undertaken by Kiwi expert Mike Murphy, while the mechanical installation was carried out by Air Cool Refrigeration who are based in Auckland’s North Shore. A New Zealand consultancy called Origin Fire did the fi re engineering.
“We purpose built the main equipment like chillers through a company called CIR Ltd— Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration, based in Penrose.
The overwater villa was built by a Nelson company called Flight Timbers.” Lance says it does make Jackson Engineering very proud to be part of projects like Muraka.
“People say – what do you do and we say ‘well air conditioning basically’. “But when you start talking about projects like Muraka it does start to become a bit of a dinner conversation piece.”
This article was brought to you in association with the following businesses…

Related Posts