3XN Wins Design Competition for Aquarium in Copenhagen

Copenhagen based 3XN win the design competition for a new aquarium, “The Blue Planet,“ scheduled to open in 2013 in their hometown. The contemporary waterfront building is inspired by the whirling streams of the sea and draws you “into the deep“ as principal Kim Herforth Nielsen puts it.

The building is “whirled“ around a circular centre hall entitled the “Round Room,“ the centre of navigation in the aquarium, where visitors choose which arm of the whirlpool to explore. Each arm will contain a different exhibition of a river, lake or ocean.
Though the whirlpool effect on the building will be best viewed from above (the site is near the Copenhagen Airport), the viewer on the ground will be able to experience the curved building by travelling through the several interior “organic worlds“. The building will be built at the island of Amager, right at the coast of Øresund, north of Kastrup Havn, surrounded by reflecting pools and the sea.
The foyer within the entrance of the Whirlpool functions as a gateway into the “Blue Planet.“ The ceiling is actually the underside of an aquarium pool that opens up to the sky and allows sunlight to reflect through the water into the interior space. The curves define the sculptural look of the building and create the backdrops to the sceneries of the ongoing exhibitions. The building itself allows for flexibility in its program and the whirl of the structure is meant to allow for further repetition of the pattern allowing for expansion if necessary.
A buffer zone between each arm and the Round Room becomes a platform where sound and images are used to introduce the atmosphere communicated in the ensuing curved sequence of rooms.
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