Aquarium architecture

aquariums and marine research centers

the first known aquarists were sumerians who kept fishes in artificial ponds approximately 4500 years ago.

this collection of aquariums and marine research centers illustrate how architects have

incorporated the idea of water when designing their structures

california green academy of sciences

image © tim griffith

having just opened in september 2008 the california green academy of sciences took approximately 8 years to build.

designed by italian architect renzo piano the academy is a sustainable building that consists of an aquarium,

planetarium, rainforest and a research center. one of the main features of the building is its 2.5 acre

living green roof. looking like small humps protruding from the surface each are skylights that provide natural

light and ventilation for the exhibit space. extending beyond the building walls into a glass canopy the roof

provides shade, protection from the rain and generates energy through more than 55 000 photo voltaic cells

in the glass.

mora river aquarium, portugal

photo © joao morgado

on the banks of the mora river in the alentejo region of portugal sits the mora river aquarium.

designed by promontorio architecture the building is based on the region's traditional white washed barns.

constructed with evenly spaced out trusses the building completed in 2006 consists of a complex water system

that allows all of the water to be reused. spanning 2000 sqm the mora river aquarium includes more than

500 live specimens.

the national aquarium baltimore, usa

image via

t he national aquarium baltimore was designed by american firm cambridge seven associates and opened in 2005.

occupying a prominent pier in the city's inner harbor it consists of two buildings joined by a single

walkway. the main gallery located in the larger of the two buildings consists of a series of spiralling

floors that overlook a pool of sharks, sting rays and turtles. in the main entrance of the aquarium is

a 35 foot tall waterfall that was based on a real one from maryland state park. it contains collection

of approximately 16 500 species.

oceanografic center, valencia, spain

spanish architect santiago calatrava designed l' oceanografic in valencia, spain.

the building was completed in 2004.


marine and freshwater resource institute, queenscliff victoria, australia

located on the edge of swan bay, victoria, australia is the marine and freshwater institute. barely visible from

above the building is less than a quarter of a kilometer wide. the centre consists of offices, conference rooms

and a discovery centre. the wave like roof is covered with grass to create a thermal mass effect keeping the

building warm in winter and cool in summer. designed by australian firm lyon architects it was built in 2004.


aquadom, berlin, germany

in the lobby of the radisson sas hotel, berlin, germany is the aquadom. standing at 25 meters tall and measuring

approximately 11 meters in diameter it consists of an elevator in the center. built in 2003 by american reynolds

polymer technology it is the world's largest cylindrical aquarium. the tank is filled with about 900 000 litres

of seawater and contains 2600 fish.


'the deep' aquarium, hulll. UK

opened in march 2002 was the deep aquarium, situated at sammy’s point of the river hull, england.

the structure designed by sir terry farrell architects is one which is futuristic. part of the building is built underwater

and it is also called a submarium. it contains 2.5 million litres of water and 87 tonnes of salt.


oceanário, lisbon, portugal

built in 1996 by cambridge seven associates the oceanario de lisboa is built in the pier of an internal sea.

consisting of three levels the building is comprised of stone piers, steel masts and cables which support

glass roof sheets. divided into four tanks the aquarium displays the eco systems of the pacific, atlantic, indian

and antartic oceans. It houses over 16 000 plants and animal species.


florida aquarium, usa

shaped like a

shell is the roof of the florida aquarium. designed by hok architects the glass roof took about

two and a half years to build. the three storey structure houses 10 000 plant and animal species and was

opened in 1995.


genova aquarium, italy

photo © shunji courtesy renzo piano

as part of the genoa harbor redevelopment project italian architect renzo piano designed an aquarium.

the building’s roof resembles a continuous wave and is attached with a series of cables that hang from

masts surrounding the aquarium. located on the quay of port antico it consists of seven tanks and contains

approximately 6000 sea animals. the aquarium was completed in 1992.


lofotakvariet aquarium, norway

image via

located in the far north of norway is the lofotakvariet aquarium. designed by blue streak architects

aquarium also consists of a waterfall.


dubai mall aquarium, dubai, united arab emirates

on the 30th of october, 2008 the world's largest aquarium will open. located inside the burj dubai mall

it will consists of a three storey high 10 million litre tank. the aquarium will also feature a 270 degree acrylic

walk through tunnel to allow visitors to enjoy marine life whilst they shop.


coney island redesign, USA

WRT architects designed an aquarium that resembles a whales profile.

wxy architecture with west 8 design aimed to have features which interacted with visitors and casual passers by.

some of their main ideas were a ‘living’ dune landscape, coral inspired retaining wall and a 60 ft high jellyfish pavilion.

the design proposal by smith-miller + hawkinson architects for the new new york aquarium takes inspiration

from the animals iside and the environment outside. the aquarium is to be located on coney island and in

smith-miller + hawkinson proposal, has two parts ‘wavefence’, the aquarium’s surrounding wall and ‘sandscape’,

an artificial dune concealing a parking lot below. ‘wavefence’ is based on beach fencing and will have a vertical

garden and also special photoluminescent paint which wills provide energy free signage. the ‘sandscape’

will be made from a combination of sand and recycled material and be complemented by the new boardwalk

connecting the aquarium to the beach and transportation hubs.


sea orbiter

the sea orbiter is a floating research lab designed by french architect jacques rougerie. the fin shaped vessel

is 51meters high and has a maximum capacity of 18 people. the structures hull will attract marine life,

allowing scientists to study the creatures.


silvertown quays UK

a new aquarium will be built in silvertown, london, england. spanning over 15 500 square meters the building

will consist of four exhibition areas that focus on the marine areas of the british isles, atlantic ocean, indo- pacific

and amazon. designed by farrell architects the aquarium will feature a vase like tank on the roof of the building.

hafencity hamburg, germany

OMA architects have released designs for a new science center to be built in hamburg -hafencity, germany.

spanning 23000m2 the science centre will be constructed of ten modular blocks that connect to form a ring

shaped building. it will consist of an aquarium, offices and laboratories. approximately 8 500 meters of the

building will be underground.


lilypad floating city, dubai, united arab emirates

lilypad designed by vincent callebaut architects is a concept for a floating city in dubai. its shape is inspired


whirpool aquarium, copenhagen, denmark

based-on the sea's 'whirl streams' and shoals of fish, ‘whirlpool’ is the name of 3xns architects proposal an

aquarium in copenhagen. the round centre hall of the building and the different parts are ‘whirled’ in the

slightly curved sequence of rooms. the first and longest of the whirlpool’s arms follow the shape

of the landscape and the building, moving into the land. the blue planet building site is at the island of amager,

right at the coast of øresund, north of kastrup havn, the complex is expected to open in 2013.


songjiang hotel, shanghai china

Category: Architecture

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