A world of energy inspired by the very creatures which it is tasked to exhibit, 3XN’s winning proposal- The Blue Planet, a new aquarium for Copenhagen, Denmark- whirls and twists, drawing visitors into a corporeal totality of the aquarium experience. The architects were inspired by the whirlpools or maelstroms created by ocean eddies and the swarms of fish schools. This torquing movement, I believe without any real proof- only a feeling- is something which all animals who have evolved slowly on this spherical planet resonate towards. We see things as straight and flat, but we live on a curved world which naturally produces only radial or at the least, non-linear fluidic movements, whether it be wind or water. And the subliminal observations of this cannot have escaped our subconscious urges.
Approaching the aquarium on foot, one will observe the building floating in a circular reflecting pool. The building reaches out, enticing visitors inwards through a series of organically formed spaces until reaching the centre of the maelstrom, the Round Room, where occupants are presented with a choice of which hydroscape to observe first. The ceiling of this room is made almost entirely of glass, with one of the aquarium pools- teeming with aquatic life- located directly above. It is through this watery lens that the sky above is visible, completing the visitor’s sense of emersion.
The different wings radiate off of the Round Room, each with its own ‘introduction space’ where sights and sounds the atmosphere exhibited beyond. These wings hold a second, hidden purpose. Coherent addition to the aquarium is possible by simply extending these whirling arms along their implied paths. It is through these arms also, that the building bridges water and land. Sitting as it does, raised several meters above the surrounding lands and overlooking the Øresund, the aquarium reaches out, becoming more than just one static building, while maintaining an overall identity.