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NYC AQUARIUM COMPETITION

AN EXPLORATORY APPROACH YIELDS AN IMMERSIVE VISITOR EXPERIENCE

 

Our competition scheme for a Long Island City waterfront Aquarium utilizes scale and spectacle to enrich this proposed educational and community destination.

By establishing ground plane and water level as reference points, circulation through the lower exhibits becomes immersive.  The primary aquarium tanks form a central rotunda, with mechanicals elevated for resiliency.  Full-scale videos on the rotunda ceiling dramatize the sheer magnitude of the world’s largest sea creatures. Spiraling behind the building skin, against the exterior of the tanks, encourages close contemplation of the aquatic life.  Looking down from above or up from below, the visitor is consumed in the totality of the exhibits as if immersed in the sea.  

We included gestures of paths, pedestrian bridges, docks and streams to knit the aquarium and it’s educational and public spaces into the community context.  Recognizing the viability matrix for such a project, we suggested adjacent sites for a community boathouse, hotel complex, magnet school and other mixed-use developments.  We doubled the roof as a sloping community lawn, opening prime waterfront access to the public and simultaneously creating a backdrop for the luminous aquarium rotunda as the beacon for Long Island City.