Inspired by the shape of water in endless motion, Denmark’s new National Aquarium, The Blue Planet by Danish architects 3XN is shaped as a great whirlpool. This book tells the story of the architecture of one of the world’s most important and most impressive aquariums.
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.