MJ Murphy Ltd - Aquarium & Underwater Restaurant Designer
Civil and Structural Engineers | Aquarium Design Consultants | Coolstore Specialists | Architectural Designers
Aquarium and Underwater restaurant design specialist

About the Company

M.J. MURPHY LTD is a very efficient multi-talented design consultancy based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Our Mission - to do things simply, quickly, and right first time!
And be happy in our work.

The company was founded by the current Managing Director and Civil Engineer Mike Murphy, in 1982, and has developed a number of specialist abilities over these years which have always kept the company in high demand for these services.  It has enjoyed a growing enviable reputation for producing innovative solutions, efficiently, with the minimum of staff and overheads, and always with a sense of fun, (one must enjoy what one does, otherwise why are we doing it?).  

Staff numbers usually range between 2 - 6 depending on the project on hand.  Drawings are produced by the quickest means, either by CAD (AutoCAD, VectorWorks or Sketchup), or often simply on the drawing board, depending on the demands of the job. All work is supervised and checked by Mike Murphy.  Clients get direct access to Mike Murphy by phone or email,  hence they get the best most direct service.   Our services include:-


The company has specialised in aquarium design since 1985, (in particular large public aquariums), and is able to offer a wide range of in-house services, including:

  • Site evaluation and feasibility
  • Conceptual planning and artwork
  • Architectural, Civil and Structural Design
  • Aquarium life-support systems
  • Filtration, pumping and pipework design
  • Underwater acrylic tunnel & window design
  • Tunnel moving walkway design
  • Artificial rockwork theming design
  • Construction supervision
  • Commissioning of the aquarium

Many people have under-estimated the high complexity of the modern day public aquarium. M.J.MURPHY LTD has developed the unusual ability to imagine, coordinate and design into a huge aquarium complex all the many features which will be required.Usually we prefer to produce the initial Concept Plans, and THEN give to the Architect to add the artistic embellishments, as often many architects have had no experience in design of major aquariums.

Usual project value for such major aquariums ranges between NZ $1million - $50 million.

We work closely with various consultants and specialist marine bioligists, aquarists and graphic designers, for selection of fish species and display presentations. Or we can work with the Client's own nominated specialists. All aquarists have different preferences, so flexibility and versatility are important to us, so we can offer the best range of service options to the client.

Refer to our list of projects to see a range of our work in this field.

Undersea Restaurant Maldives HiltonUNDERWATER RESTAURANT DESIGNERS
After the resounding success of the Hilton Maldives Undersea Restaurant (Ithaa), we now offer this same service to other clients worldwide.  Remember the structure need not be for a restaurant, but any use you can imagine ie underwater bedroom, spa or massage room, or bar etc.   Services  include:-
  • Site evaluation and feasibility
  • Conceptual planning and artwork
  • Architectural, Civil and Structural design
  • Underwater acrylic tunnel & window design
  • Arrange hydrographic and geotech surveys
  • Air conditioning design
  • Calling and analysing tenders
  • Construction supervision

It is important to realise that a structure like this cannot be put simply anywhere. Care must be taken to select sites that have the right desirable characteristics, ie, clear water, lots of fish, good scenery (corals, etc), good water depth, low - medium tidal range, good seabed soil for piles, sheltered waters protected from storm waves and surges, easy access for construction, good onshore facilities, lots of people and tourists to spend lots of money, etc.

M.J. MURPHY LTD  will assist to analyse the site first before work is commenced in earnest.  Different sizes and shapes of structure can be designed if required, but these are always dictated by the laws of physics and flotation, and the ability to lift and transport the completed unit to the site, and the availability of suitable cranes, barges and piling rigs, etc. 

Refer to our list of projects to see a range of our work in this field.


We have been intimately involved in the coldstore and food processing industry in NZ since 1979.
Mike Murphy is widely regarded as one of New Zealand's foremost experts in the design of structural steel-polystyrene sandwich panel buildings, large freezers and chillers.
We have load-tested over 60 panels (50 - 250mm thick) and compiled the original load-span data and design manuals for NZ's largest panel manufacturer, BONDOR NZ LTD, using their Bondor panels.

Refer to our list of projects to see what sort work we do in this field. We have done countless different types of projects using steel-and-polystyrene insulation panels, such as .....

  • Major coldstore complexes
  • Freezers
  • Chillers
  • Blast Freezers
  • Abbatoirs (beef, sheep, deer)
  • Food processing factories
  • Dairy cheese factories
  • Kiwifruit coolstores
  • Fisheries & bakeries
  • Breweries & Wineries
  • Deer velvet factories
  • Piggeries
  • Mushroom growing sheds
  • Timber drying kilns
  • Cow milking sheds
  • Ice making plants
  • Environmental load-out areas
  • Truck docks
  • Insulated coolroom doors
  • Sandwich panel houses
  • Architectural panels for
    shopping centres, sports
    halls, high-rise office
    buildings, theatres, etc
We are always stretching the bounds of our imagination to build bigger and more amazing projects, so just give us a call and present your idea to us for comment.  If there is a practical and safe way to do it, we will find it.






M.J. MURPHY LTD  provides a complete design service for residential homes and other related buildings. Refer to our list of projects to see a range of our work in this field.