Posts tagged with "Aquarium":

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LMN Architects designs daring new Ocean Pavilion for the Seattle Aquarium

Seattle's tightly packed Pike Place Market district is abuzz with tourists seeking all things unique to the culture of the Pacific Northwest. One such destination is the Seattle Aquarium, a nonprofit and marine research center along its Western shore that has been delighting over 800,000 visitors a year since 1977. In 2015, the city council supported an ordinance to contribute $34 million to add a significant addition to the aquarium in the form of an "Ocean Pavilion" dedicated primarily to the exhibition of sharks and stingrays native to the South Pacific. On December 9 of this year, that ordinance passed unanimously. Local firm LMN Architects was recently hired by the aquarium to design a 50,000-square-foot Ocean Pavilion that would effectively replace a portion of the Alaskan Way Viaduct abutting the site between Pike Place Market and Piers 59 and 60. “The Ocean Pavilion will be at the crossroads of the city,” said Seattle Aquarium president and chief executive officer Bob Davidson. “It’s a gift, and it’s also a statement of the importance of Seattle’s relationship to the water and the ocean.” A 325,000-gallon tank teeming with marine life will act as a centerpiece for the new pavilion, while surrounding spaces will feature exhibitions showcasing the ecosystems found in Indonesia's Coral Triangle and the general Indo-Pacific region designed to educate visitors of the human-related threats facing ocean life. "Guided by Seattle Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the marine environment," said LMN Architects, "the new facility establishes the context for an ocean ethic, focusing on global stories like climate change and ocean acidification." Adjacent to these exhibition spaces will be an open gathering and viewing space facing Elliott Bay that will accommodate flexible programming for up to 200 people at a time. From the outside, pedestrians will be afforded the opportunity to look through an overhead oculus the firm has dubbed "the Sharkulus," which will offer views into the main exhibit from both the rooftop terrace and the plaza level. The entire project is anticipated to cost $113 million and is scheduled for completion in 2023.
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New York Aquarium opens $158 million addition that’s all about sharks

  Coney Island will gain a major attraction this weekend when the New York Aquarium opens a $158 million addition called Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Civic leaders joined aquarium officials and donors on Thursday to cut the ribbon for the facility, which opens to the public on Saturday. With more than 57,000 square feet of space, from an underwater tunnel that takes visitors beneath a coral reef exhibit to a rooftop observation deck, the three-level addition brings visitors “nose to nose” with 18 different species of sharks and rays, plus 115 other kinds of marine life. Having been in the works for the past 14 years, the facility represents a major addition to the New York Aquarium, which is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society and is considered the oldest continuously-operating aquatic museum in the United States. The design is the work of a consortium led by Susan Chin, Vice President of Planning and Design and Chief Architect for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Key design team members included Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects of New York, Doyle Partners of New York, and the Portico Group of Seattle. In 2013, the design received an Award for Design Excellence from the New York City Public Design Commission. The goal, planners say, was to create a facility that educates visitors about the importance of sharks to the health of the world’s oceans, points out the threats they face, and inspires visitors to protect marine life in New York and beyond. “Our new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit will awaken New Yorkers to the magnificence and importance of the ocean here in New York,” said Aquarium Director Jon Forrest Dohlin in a statement. “We hope that the pride and sense of wonder instilled by Ocean Wonders: Sharks! translate into stewardship for our oceans.” Completed as a joint venture of the Wildlife Conservation Society and New York City, which owns the land and provided most of the construction funds, the addition also represents a major achievement by the Aquarium and the Coney Island community in rebuilding from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. “We’re celebrating a remarkable new facility where New Yorkers can learn more about—and be delighted by—our ocean-dwelling neighbors,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at the ribbon cutting. “But we’re also celebrating another big step toward recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The New York Aquarium brings the wonders of the sea to our doorstep, and we’re proud to have made a major investment in its restoration.” The curving structure cantilevers over the Coney Island boardwalk, which was recently designated a New York City landmark. Its exterior includes an 1,100-foot-long “Shimmer Wall” that was designed in collaboration with visual artist Ned Kahn to convey the force and fluidity of the ocean. This kinetic facade consists of more than 33,000 aluminum “flappers” that undulate with the wind. Inside are nine galleries that Chin says were inspired by nature. They include the “Coral Reef Tunnel,” an immersive underwater tunnel that enables visitors to view sharks swimming overhead; Sharks Up Close,” an interactive gallery showcasing the physiology and behavior of sharks and rays; “Sharks in Peril,” a gallery that shows why sharks are vulnerable to overfishing and other threats, and “Discover New York Waters,” a gallery that highlights the marine ecosystems off New York’s coast.  Other areas include “New York Seascape,“ which shows how scientists are working to save sharks; “Shipwreck,” which explores the more than 60 wrecks found along the New York coastline and how they serve as gathering spots for sharks; “Canyon’s Edge,” a look at the ecosystem of the Hudson Canyon, which begins at the mouth of the Hudson River and is comparable in size to the Grand Canyon; “Conservation Choices,” showing how visitors can become conservationists; and “Ecology Walk,” a look at the ecology of Coney Island and nearby areas such as Jamaica Bay and Sandy Hook. On the top level are the Ocean Overlook and the Oceanview Learning Laboratory, a 1,500 square-foot educational space featuring an outdoor terrace with a rooftop touch tank and other teaching facilities. The New York Aquarium opened in 1896 in Castle Garden, part of the Battery Park section of Manhattan. Since 1957, it has been located on the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn. Of the total $158 million cost of the Ocean Wonders exhibit and its companion Animal Care Facility, $111 million came from New York City and $47 million came from private groups, individuals, and tax-exempt financing. The addition is expected to generate $20 million a year in economic activity. New York officials noted yesterday that the aquarium addition is one of many ways that New York had been working to revitalize Coney Island, even before Hurricane Sandy. “We’ve been making big investments across Coney Island in everything from affordable housing to new amusements to infrastructure upgrades,” said James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corp. “Today we’re proud to add ‘sharks’ to that list. Investing in our cultural institutions is critical to our ongoing neighborhood investments, and we’re thrilled to see this iconic exhibit build on the momentum in Coney Island.”
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LMN Architects unveil new renderings for Seattle Aquarium expansion

Seattle-based LMN Architects has released new renderings depicting the firm’s planned 50,000-square-foot addition to the Seattle Aquarium complex. LMN’s $100 million design focuses on adding a new wing adjacent to the existing aquarium to boost capacity at the 40-year-old institution, which has been operating near capacity in recent years. The so-called Ocean Pavilion will house new exhibits focused on tropical and reef ecosystems and will include a 350,000-gallon warm-water tank that can house larger aquatic specimens such as sharks. The shark tank will come outfitted with several viewing platforms and will be located within a larger, flexible gathering space that can hold up to 200 people in a variety of configurations. The new addition will also include smaller “jewel” tanks that will highlight rare species with the help of new interpretive technologies. This space will also include smaller, more intimate gathering spots for “hands-on educational activities and interpretation,” according to a statement from the architects. In the statement, Bob Davidson, CEO of the Seattle Aquarium said, "LMN Architects brings a rich history and commitment to community-focused civic projects, combined with a strong design approach that connects public-focused building programs with the crafting of urban space and experience.” Mark Reddington, partner at LMN Architects, said, "The Seattle Aquarium is a leader in education and advocacy for the health of the world's oceans. For the City of Seattle, this project will create a prominent civic presence for the Aquarium and form the primary public connection between the new waterfront promenade to Pike Place Market." The proposed addition comes as work on the Seattle waterfront redevelopment plan by James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) progresses toward construction. JCFO’s plan would bring a network of pedestrian trails, streets improvements, and plaza spaces to an area currently occupied by the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a section of Interstate-5 that is in the process of being buried below the proposed improvements. Once the new tunnel is completed, the expanded aquarium complex will sit at the end of a generous pedestrian plaza and will have direct access to the improved waterfront areas and the newly reconnected downtown. The aquarium expansion is due to finish construction in 2023.
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Major Aquarium of the Pacific expansion breaks ground

San Francisco-based architects EHDD and the Aquarium of the Pacific broke ground today on a 29,000-square-foot expansion of the aquarium's existing, portside facilities in Long Beach, California. The so-called Pacific Visions expansion will bring a new two-story wing to the aquarium complex that includes a state-of-the-art immersive theater, expanded exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits. The expansion will also feature an updated front entry pavilion as well as a new exhibition hall for installations, performances, and cultural programming. The effort represents the largest expansion to the aquarium since its founding in 1998. The original structure was built by EHDD and the Los Angeles office of architecture firm HOK and is defined by its series of wave-shaped roof planes supported by slender columns spanned with tall sheets of glass. In a press release for the project, EHDD Design Principal Marc L’Italien said, “It’s not often that we have the opportunity to expand upon a building that we have designed before. The new building flows with the original building but it's also a counterpoint to it.” The new addition takes the wavy motify further. EHDD has proposed a “biomorphic design” inspired by the water-based forms of the original structure that, through bulbous undulations and variegated exterior cladding, mimics the effect of sunlight traveling through water. The structure’s rippled exterior is clad in a ventilated rainscreen made up of 800 triple-layer laminated glass assembly panels. Each layer in the assembly—the inner-most layer is slightly reflective, the central layer is tinted blue, and the exterior layer is acid-etched and made of low-iron glass—will work together to catch, reflect, and treat light in a dynamic manner. The panel assemblies–which are supported by an aluminum frame—have also been designed to minimize the appearance of joints. The outer surface of the 18,000-square-foot exterior is acid-treated to minimize the direct reflection of nearby trees and sky so that birds will not be confused. L’Italien described the facade in terms of its temporal qualities, saying, “there is depth and mystery to the form and to the glass skin. Depending on the time of day and where you're viewing the building from, it will appear differently to everyone, forever changing, just like the oceans that inspired it.” The $53 million expansion, due to be completed in 2018, comes as the second and final phase of the institution’s Campus Master Plan from 2005. The plan aims to develop the aquarium’s role in the community as a public gathering place where scientists, policy makers, and the public can “celebrate the inhabitants and ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean and explore today’s most important environmental issues.”
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Aquarium—and massive shark tank—planned for St. Louis's Union Station

By fall 2018, St. Louis will be home to a new 1-million-gallon aquarium. The aquarium is part of a larger redevelopment of St. Louis Union Station, a National Historic Landmark. The St. Louis Aquarium is being developed by Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), the St. Louis-based hospitality management company that's also behind the larger re-imaging of Union Station. The $45 million aquarium will house thousands of aquatic species and will include a 385,000-gallon shark tank. Visitors will be able walk inches above the tank on a v-shaped rope Shark Bridge. The shark tank will also be the backdrop of a 8,500-square-foot private event space for weddings and corporate events. “The St. Louis Aquarium will anchor the development that will transform St. Louis Union Station and reposition it as a family attraction destination similar to Chicago’s Navy Pier,” explained Bob O’Loughlin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lodging Hospitality Management and owner of St. Louis Union Station. Along with the aquarium, the redevelopment will also include a 200-foot-high observation Ferris wheel, a Fire & Light Show at the Lake, a new boardwalk around the site’s pond, and a new food area called the Train Park. The redevelopment also includes work on the hotel, which will add 32 new rooms to its current 539 rooms. Construction on the aquarium is planned to begin this year, with an anticipated completion in fall 2018. The 75,000-square-foot attraction will take the place of the mall area in Union Station. The current hotel and mall at Union Station were designed in 1985 and were part of a revitalization of downtown St. Louis. The popularity of the mall has declined over the last decade and the new redevelopment hopes to bring families from the entire St. Louis region back to the area.
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National Aquarium in Baltimore to build North America’s first sanctuary for "retired" dolphins

Designers have created sanctuaries for elephants, chimpanzees and big cats. The National Aquarium in Baltimore announced today that it will design and build North America’s first “sanctuary” for dolphins. The project will enable the institution to move its eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins out of public display and into the protected seaside habitat by the end of 2020, paving the way for major changes to its Inner Harbor campus. A location for the dolphin sanctuary—likely farther south, in warmer climates closer to the equator—has not been selected, but aquarium officials say it will provide a new option for how dolphins can live in human care. No designer has been selected, but the aquarium has been working closely for the past two years with architect Jeanne Gang, of Studio Gang Architects. Gang’s office has prepared a rendering showing what the dolphin sanctuary might look like. Several years ago, she led an architecture class at Rice University and her assignment for the class was to design a dolphin sanctuary off the coast of Texas. Aquarium Chief Executive Officer John Racanelli announced the decision about the dolphins in a press release and an email message to members of the National Aquarium’s extended community. "Through more than 25 years of dedicated care for dolphins, we have realized that the relocation of our dolphins to a natural sanctuary setting is the best way to offer them an environment in which they can thrive," Racanelli said in his email message. "We now know more about dolphins and their care, and we believe that the National Aquarium is uniquely positioned to use that knowledge to implement positive change," Racanelli said. "This is the right time to move forward with the dolphin sanctuary." "There’s no model anywhere, that we’re aware of, for this," Racanelli told the  Associated Press. "We’re pioneering here, and we know it’s never the easiest nor the cheapest option." The aquarium disclosed two years ago that it was considering retiring its dolphins, as part of a movement in which institutions are rethinking the idea of holding cetaceans and other living creatures in captivity. Because the dolphins may not be able to survive if released into the wild, the aquarium has explored the idea of creating a sanctuary for them, in the same way Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus maintains a sanctuary for its retired elephants. As part of its evaluation, the aquarium hired Studio Gang to propose ways to repurpose a $35 million marine mammal pavilion that opened in 1991 and was designed specifically for the display of dolphins. Gang has proposed converting the building, on Inner Harbor Pier 4, to an attraction that would focus on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Drawings were made public last month. In its announcement today, the aquarium released some details about the proposed animal sanctuary. According to the aquarium, it will be in a tropical or sub-tropical climate, possibly in the Florida Keys or the Caribbean. The National Aquarium has formed a site selection team whose top priority is to ensure the health and welfare of the dolphins. The location will be chosen based on a list of criteria, including: ability to provide lifetime customized care for each dolphin; an outdoor location with natural sea water, with more space and depth than current facility; a warm weather climate, and natural stimulus for the dolphins, such as fish and aquatic plants “As we look at the future of the dolphins in our care, we are working very hard to provide them the best possible place to live out their years,” said Tom Robinson, the National Aquarium’s board chair. According to the aquarium, the institution and its directors began exploring new ways to care for the dolphins five years ago. Numerous options were weighed, ranging from rebuilding the existing Marine Mammal Pavilion in a more naturalistic style to moving the dolphins to other accredited facilities. After careful consideration, officials said, the decision was made to create a protected, year-round, seaside refuge with aquarium staff continuing to care for and interact with the dolphins. “We've evaluated this for five years and have decided that this is the right decision for the dolphins, and, thus, for our organization,” said aquarium board member Colleen Dilenschneider, who also served on a separate board committee that assessed this project. “We are excited to introduce this new option along a spectrum of human care for dolphins.” “This is a special time in history concerning evolving attitudes about treating all forms of life with dignity and respect—other humans very much included,” said Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, explorer and author. “The idea of providing sanctuaries for elephants, chimpanzees, big cats—and now dolphins—is a sign of a maturing ethic of caring unthinkable in past millennia, centuries and even decades.”
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Jeanne Gang recommends extensive changes to National Aquarium in Baltimore

The sculptural centerpiece of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium, would take on an entirely new look and identity under a design proposal from Chicago-based architect and MacArthur Foundation genius grant recipient Jeanne Gang.
The redesign is driven by proposed changes in the uses and “a new unifying concept for the exhibits” of the aquarium’s multi building campus, also recommended by Gang’s firm, Studio Gang, and others.
First, the aquarium’s Marine Mammal Pavilion on Inner Harbor Pier 4 would become an attraction focusing on the “Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” if-and-when the aquarium’s dolphins are no longer in residence. Aquarium chief executive John Racanelli disclosed in 2014 that the aquarium is studying the possibility of no longer exhibiting its eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at the Inner Harbor, adding to a national discussion about the ethics of keeping cetaceans in captivity. Second, the aquarium’s original building on Inner Harbor Pier 3 would be redesigned to offer “an expansive tour of global ‘Hope Spots,’ treasured places on the planet that are worth protecting,” and given a new circulation system visible on the building’s exterior. This would be a new and more conservation-oriented visitor experience inside the 1981 building, whose exhibits were designed to take visitors on a simulated journey around the world, from beneath the ocean to the top of the Amazon Rain Forest. Third, between the two main buildings, a narrow slip of water would support an “urban wetland” capable of attracting wildlife, increasing biodiversity, connecting the main buildings, and serving as a “new physical center for the National Aquarium campus.”
By providing outdoor educational and social spaces for visitors and the public, designers say, the wetlands project “simultaneously improves the local ecology, creates a campus identity, strengthens connectivity, and extends the aquarium's growing conservation work in the region.” Both of the existing buildings, including one of the first major aquarium structures by Peter Chermayeff and his colleagues at Cambridge Seven Associates, would be retained under Gang’s proposal.
But both would be substantially altered with internal changes and additions, including new crystalline or prismatic forms that both link and lighten the buildings visually and conceal much of the striated concrete that is visible today. On Pier 3, Chermayeff’s distinctive forms and graphics would be altered radically under Gang’s proposal, including the “signal flag” wall on the west side and the glass pyramid that encloses the rooftop rain forest. A new circulation system would be created along the western wall, where the signal flag is now.
On Pier 4, the Marine Mammal Pavilion, designed by GWWO of Baltimore and opened in 1990, would receive a similarly thorough makeover, with changes designed to reuse much of the existing building yet give it a new architectural identity to coincide with its new use and unite “existing and new building volumes” on both piers. The transformation is the culmination of a two year long design process that Gang led in her first project in Baltimore and one of her first on the East Coast. Studio Gang was hired by the aquarium along with a predictive intelligence company, IMPACTS Research & Development. Drawings, renderings and an explanatory text have been posted on the Studio Gang website, which calls the project the “National Aquarium Strategic Master Plan” and says design work was completed in 2015. The plans call for the aquarium eventually to contain 360,000 square feet of indoor space and a 37,000 square foot urban wetland.
Inside the aquarium, the posting says, Gang’s plan calls for “a redesigned circulation sequence to enhance visitor flow through the exhibits and visitor amenities.”  Gang’s plan also “creates and enriches spaces for education through a new unifying concept  for the exhibits on both piers: While Pier 3 would offer an expansive tour of global "Hope Spots," treasured places on the planet that are worth protecting, Pier 4 would become the domain of the region's spectacular natural asset, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.” Coordinating the architectural experience with the exhibits and education spaces, the proposed design for Pier 4 takes visitors on a journey through the various ecological zones of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the largest estuary in the United States and one of the most fragile. Educational labs and classrooms are integrated within both interior and exterior exhibits and enable visitors to see back-of-house functions such as a “fish kitchen.” Under Gang’s plan, the new program areas are closely tied to the aquarium's conservation work.
“By strengthening connections between urban and aquatic life, Studio Gang’s strategic master plan supports the aquarium’s future success and goals to ‘fundamentally change the way people view and care for the ocean,’” the architects say on their website. “Ultimately, the plan positions the National Aquarium as a recognized leader in national and global debates concerning water quality, conservation, healthy harbors, and the future sustainability and practices of aquariums at large.” Aquarium officials have not said for sure when or whether they are discontinuing their popular dolphin exhibit. They have said they plan to carry out the strategic plan recommendations in phases, as funding allows. The first major project they are launching is the urban wetlands and changes to outdoor spaces on Piers 3 and 4. That project is currently going through the local design review process, with Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore as the lead designer.
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Long Beach Aquarium Expansion Will Add 29,000 Square Feet

The largest aquarium in the U.S. (and the world) might be the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta—it hosts more than 100,000 animals and 550,000 square feet of exhibits. But the West coast—southern California more specifically—has the Aquarium of the Pacific. It features 5-acres of exhibits and over 500 marine species, and even a dive immersion program into a tropical reef exhibit. And it's about to get bigger. On the heels of SeaWorld announcing the end its controversial Shamu killer whale shows and breeding program by 2019, the almost 18-year old Aquarium of the Pacific released renderings and information on a new expansion, Pacific Visions. The aquarium is working with San Francisco-based architecture firm EHDD whose designers are also working on the Seattle Aquarium expansion. Renderings reveal a new 2-story theater with two projection areas: one curved along the wall (130 feet long by 32 feet tall), and a second on the floor (30-feet in diameter). Plans for the new wing will also add an art gallery and 6,000 square feet of space for rotating exhibits. The curves of the planned two-story wing resembles a blue whale. Its 800 panels of shimmering glass skin will also serve as a rain screen. The expansion is the last phase of the aquarium's 2005 master plan. The Aquarium of the Pacific was founded in 1998, "conceived as a cornerstone of a waterfront retail and amusement complex that would bring visitors to Long Beach at a time when it was struggling to cope with the closure of a Navy shipyard and the loss of about 50,000 jobs,” writes the Los Angeles Times. So far, the aquarium has raised over $35 million of the $53 million project budget through public and private funding. The target opening date is late 2018.
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Qatari officials considering an underwater TV station, among other outlandish pitches, as its $200 billion 2022 World Cup approaches

Seven years away and already commanding a reported $200 billion budget in preparations, the FIFA World Cup 2022 has Qatari officials deliberating over proposals for an underwater TV station. Los Angeles–based artificial reef and aquarium design firm Reef Worlds is pushing designs for a $30 million underwater broadcast studio which, post–World Cup, will be turned into a public aquarium. The studio itself will occupy a carved-out rocky cavern on the ocean floor. According to Patric Douglas, CEO of Reef Worlds, Qatar World Cup authorities warmed to the preliminary designs and “the notion of doing the World Cup underwater with sharks swimming around.” In terms of funding, Douglas predicted that it would be covered by broadcasters who want to use the film location as a base during the World Cup. “You could underwrite the entire thing with one Sky or Latin broadcast network, they will pay you enough money to finance this thing,” he told Arabian Business. Qatari officials, who have a generous appetite for the superlative and the submerged, will decide in either July or August whether to greenlight Douglas’ plans. A European real estate agent based in Dubai is developing a collection of three-story properties with one floor submerged as a cross between a boat and a villa. Each unit will reportedly sell for $1.4 million. Meanwhile, Polish architect Krzysztof Kotala is soliciting investors for his plans to build the world’s first underwater tennis stadium. Qatar’s current budget of $200 billion for the FIFA World Cup amounts to an eye-watering $100,000 per capita. This, of course, all comes as FIFA finds itself in a massive corruption scandal, and renewed scrutiny over why Qatar, a country with a terrible human rights record and a very hot climate, was awarded the 2022 World Cup. Should the proposal meet a dead end, Reef Worlds is nevertheless bent on developing “sustainable underwater tourism sites” in Dubai, UAE, and the wider Gulf. The firm recently completed designs for the world’s first underwater amusement park, which is modeled after the mythical city of Atlantis and inspired by motion pictures such as Avatar and Pirates of the Carribean. If approved, the park will be built on The World, a series of man-made islands off the coast of Dubai in the shape of a map of the world.
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Seattle Aquarium Expansion Moving Forward

Although Seattle's Big Bertha—the giant tunnel boring machine powering the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel alongside Seattle's waterfront—will be delayed until next March for repairs, the nearby Seattle Aquarium is moving steadily ahead with its plans for a major expansion. The institution has just brought in San Francisco–based EHDD principal Marc L'Italien, who will lead concept designs for the project. A veteran of aquarium, museum, and zoo design, his firm helmed the Monterey Bay Aquarium design and renovated a dormant pier along the San Francisco Embarcadero into the new home for the Exploratorium. The Seattle Aquarium plans to grow by 70percent, to a total of 184,500 square feet. The additional space would provide room for new exhibits and educational facilities, building upon the draft concept program by Seattle firm Mithun. The aquarium is working with L'Italien to assemble a design and engineering team. In September, the team will present their plans to the Seattle City Council for review. Construction and fundraising for the aquarium expansion will take place over several phases, with anticipated completion by 2020, to coincide with the opening of the new waterfront.
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Mithun Designs Ambitious Seattle Aquarium Expansion

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.
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Bill Kreysler’s Digitally Fabricated Aquarium Liner

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California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium updates its million-gallon Open Sea exhibit

Located on the former site of a sardine cannery overlooking the Pacific, the Monterey Bay Aquarium pumps 2,000 gallons of seawater into its more than 100 exhibit tanks every minute. When its Outer Bay exhibit opened in 1996, it had the world’s largest single-pane window, measuring 56 feet long and 17 feet high. But turbulence created by the sea creatures inside unexpectedly damaged the aquarium’s liner, which flexed and loosened the grout that held its blue glass tiles in place. Large, fast-swimming tunas housed in the tank also caused damage by occasionally colliding with the lining. In 2010 the aquarium hired architectural composite consultant and fabricator Bill Kreysler, founder of Kreysler & Associates (K&A), to create a new Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) liner for the exhibit, which recently reopened as the Open Sea galleries.
  • Fabricator Kreysler & Associates
  • Designer Kreysler & Associates
  • Location Monterey, California
  • Status Complete
  • Materials Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP)
  • Process 3-D modeling, CNC mold making, FRP casting, semi-aquatic installation
K&A began the project by researching new coatings that could improve the liner’s design. They found a gel-coat material called IMEDGE, which is designed to be abrasion-resistant and colorfast during long-term water immersion. In addition to being durable, the coating’s color would give the tank a more authentic deep-sea appearance. Testing done by an independent marine lab confirmed the material is nontoxic to marine life (and actually may have a positive impact on its health). The team also identified the impact forces exerted by the aquarium’s 250-pound tunas traveling at 25 knots and modeled the FRP liner’s structural characteristics accordingly. Because the initial design phase had to be conducted while the tank was full, the team estimated measurements for their liner from the exterior. They planned to reuse the aquarium’s original FRP support ribs, but could not use their documented dimensions because of settling that would have occurred over their more than 15 years in the water. To account for the margin of error, the team designed the liner in 180 sections, most of which have unique curvatures. Adjacent pieces were designed to overlap, allowing the team to adjust them during installation. Because pieces were designed and manufactured offsite, the aquarium’s downtime was limited to four months of installation, plus a few additional weeks to refill the tank and recondition the water. After inputting their 3-D models, K&A used a gantry-mounted CNC router to carve each section’s curves into large expanded polystyrene foam blocks, then built up layers of FRP over these molds to create a ¼-inch shell. Most of the liner’s sections measure approximately 10 by 12 feet. The existing shell offered no place to attach building scaffolding, so installers worked from swing-stage scaffolding hanging from a concrete slab above. For their last time-saving trick, the team moved to floating platforms to finish the work, rising with the water level as the aquarium began to refill the tank—and prepare for a new wave of visitors.