Dezeen Magazine

The Blue Planet by 3XN

Danish studio 3XN has revealed the first photographs of its whirlpool-shaped aquarium under construction in Copenhagen.

The Blue Planet by 3XN

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.

The Blue Planet by 3XN

"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."

The Blue Planet by 3XN

"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 Blue Planet by 3XN

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.

The Blue Planet by 3XN

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.

The Blue Planet by 3XN

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.

The Blue Planet by 3XN

For job opportunities at 3XN Architects, visit their company profile on Dezeen Jobs.

Photography is by Adam Mørk.

Here's some more information from 3XN:

The Blue Planet - Denmarks New Aquarium
Copenhagen, DK

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
Architect: 3XN
Engineer: Moe & Brødsgaard A/S
Aquarium Specialists: AAT