In its over 30 years resting on Pier 59, the Seattle Aquarium has undergone a series of complex renovations, including the restoration of the original 1905 pier (while staying open), and the addition of a 120,000-gallon marine life viewing tank that helps visitors feel like they are immersed in an octopus’ garden in the shade.
Most recently, a major addition is on the boards, approved by a Seattle council committee. Plans would double the aquarium’s space, bringing in a total of 70,000 new square feet. Concept designs by Seattle-based Mithun, working with the aquarium, propose a 35,000 square-foot south wing that would make room for several new exhibits as well as a 30,000 square-foot addition on the western portion of Pier 59. The remaining 5,000 square feet could house a research facility, classrooms, and a theater.
The aquarium rehab would coincide with the central waterfront redevelopment, anticipated to include an expansion of Pike Place Market, which would directly link the market to the waterfront and the aquarium for the first time. James Corner Field Operations is currently working on a larger waterfront redevelopment plan.
Construction of the first phase is anticipated to start in 2018, and the second phase in the 2020s.