Constructing the Reef™


Designed to Support Life

The Memorial Reef™ is designed for construction in phases. The first phase of construction is complete with 44 columns covering a half-acre of ocean floor. When complete, the Memorial Reef™ will cover 16 acres and include over 5,000 columns. The building cost for the first phase of the Reef build was over $1 million.

A marine biologist engineers every Reef piece so that every angle and texture is designed to support the ecosystem. Reef pieces are built on land and moved by barge to the Reef site during the summer. Custom-built molds are used to create two columns per day from steel reinforced concrete. The concrete contains additives for faster curing and to reduce water penetration. Pieces are reinforced with steel rebar. Several pieces are built including bases, columns, and rogue units consisting of four column arches. Each concrete base, the smallest of which weighs 50 tons, has four 8-inch pipes that extend eleven feet into the sand to prevent lateral movement of the Reef.

The Memorial Reef™
by the numbers

Current size ½ acre
Future size 16 acres
Current number of columns 44
Weight of each column 5 tons
Weight of column arch 3 tons
Weight of column base 50+ tons
Weight of design rogue unit 85 tons
Anticipated time to complete build 10 years

The Memorial Reef™ consists of road units meeting at a centerpiece. It is designed with portals for future placement of features mixed with cremated remains. Columns, for example, contain a pin holding the top on. The 250# top is removed for deployments to the center of the column. Around the Atlantis centerpiece sits a bench designed as a fish habitat. The bench cover is removed for deployments to this feature. Road podiums contain portals for installment of deployments. Memorial plaques are affixed to the outside of the features.

Many families choose a free-standing Memorial piece, or marine placement, in the shape or a marine animal natural to the ecosystem such as a starfish or shell. Marine placements are glued into place using a Miami-designed epoxy for concrete-to-concrete underwater use. By the time it is complete, the Memorial Reef™ will include more than 100,000 memorials.

the first deployment →

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