Maritime magic

Friday 25 Jun 2010

Henning Larsen win Batumi Aquarium competition with powerful pebble concept

Henning Larsen Architects has won first prize for its bold design concept for a new aquarium in the seaport of Batumi, the Republic of Georgia. The invited competition took place in spring 2010 and, in addition to Henning Larsen Architects, the German architecture company Drei Architekten and the two American companies PJA Architects and Pryor & Morrow Architects were in the running to win the competition.

The 2,000 sq m aquarium will replace the previous aquarium of the port and will be situated on the beach side of Rustaveli Str. adjacent to Batumi 6 May Park featuring a Dolphinarium and Zoo. Inspired by the characteristic pebbles of the Batumi beach, continually shaped by the wash of the waves through millennia, the building stands out as a theatrical rock formation visible from both land and sea. The structure constitutes four self-supporting exhibition areas where each of the four stones represents a unique marine biotype – the Aegean Sea & the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea & the Red Sea and finally the more interactive exhibition.

Design Director and Partner at Henning Larsen Architects, Louis Becker, said: “The building will become a landmark and an organic reference to all elements of the sea. It captures the special atmosphere by the sea and thus becomes a tribute to the power of the sea!”

Batumi Aquarium has been designed as a modern, cultural aquarium offering visitors an educational, entertaining and visually stimulating journey through the different seas. The central, multipurpose space in connection with the aquarium features a café and retail functions, and its flexible layout makes it well-suited for presentations and workshops. Unfolding around the aquarium, a landscape of different sea archipelagos will provide multiple opportunities for innovative outdoor research and learning as well as informal meetings along the beachfront.

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