Danish studio 3XN has revealed the first photographs of its whirlpool-shaped aquarium under construction in Copenhagen.
Set to open in the spring, The Blue Planet aquarium was designed by 3XN to mimic the shapes created by swirling water and different exhibitions will be contained within each of the building's curved arms.
"We wanted to create an adventure, a story about being carried under water into an unknown world full of fascinating experiences," said architect and partner Jan Ammundsen. "With this in mind, we came up with the idea of a whirlpool."
"However, it is one thing to create a story and a building that looks like a whirlpool, but the real challenges lay in creating a design that also has architectural value and quality, something that is elegant and hopefully can stand the task of time. So making the story and the aesthetics go hand in hand has been the main challenge," he added.
The 9000-square-metre building is located on the waterfront, close to the city's airport, and is expected to attract
7000 700,000 visitors a year.
A circular foyer at the centre of the building will feature a glass ceiling, allowing visitors to look directly up into a pool above their heads.
This year 3XN has also completed a riverside cultural centre in Norway and converted a warehouse into an experimental food laboratory at popular Copenhagen restaurant Noma.
Photography is by Adam Mørk.
Here's some more information from 3XN:
The Blue Planet - Denmarks New Aquarium
Inspired by the shape of water in endless motion, Denmark’s new National Aquarium, The Blue Planet is shaped as a great whirlpool, and the building itself tells the story of what awaits inside.
Into Another World
The walls and roofs form a single, continuous flow and the longest of the whirlpool’s arms follows the shape of the landscape and the building, moving into the land inviting visitors inside. As soon as visitors arrive at The Blue Planet, the building will convey a sense of the special experience that awaits them inside. Here, the whirlpool has pulled you into another world - a world beneath the surface of the sea. If you tilt your head backwards, you understand that you are really a part of this aquarium because the roof above the foyer is made of glass, and at the same time it is the bottom of a pool.
Flexible Flows Between Exhibitions
The Round Room is a centre of navigation in the aquarium, and this is where visitors choose which river, lake or ocean to explore. Each exhibition has its own face towards the Round Room, each with its own entrance, starting with a buffer zone – a platform where sound and images are used to introduce the atmosphere communicated in the ensuing exhibition room.
One with the Surrounding Landscape
In the landscape, the great whirlpool continues through the terrain, the pools and the sea surrounding the building. Like watery currents, the building is not static – the movement continues into the future by virtue of always allowing possible extensions to add more, simply by letting the lines of the whirlpool grow further out.
Complex Building Project
The Blue Planet is a building of great complexity, and 3XN has taken on the role as project manager for 15 sub-consultants - including Kvorning Exhibition Designers and the Australian aquarium experts AAT. Ambitions have been sky high from the outset, and the construction of the special double curved facade has been a development project in itself, which has proven a great challenge to all parties involved.
The Blue Planet is scheduled for completion in 2013.
Address: Kajakvej, 2770 Kastrup, DK
Client: The Building Foundation "Den Blå Planet" (Realdania, Knud Højgaards Fond, Tårnby Municipality)
Competition: 1st prize in invited competition 2008
Project development: 2010 - 2013
Size: 9.000 m2
Budget: DKK 630m / €84.6m
Engineer: Moe & Brødsgaard A/S
Aquarium Specialists: AAT
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