National Aquarium Strategic Master Plan
The National Aquarium sought out Studio Gang to help them update the aquarium model for the future. The Strategic Master Plan identifies opportunities for sustainable growth, improves the visitor experience, and reinforces the organization’s commitment to conservation and education at every scale.
By providing outdoor educational and social spaces for visitors and the public, the plan simultaneously improves the local ecology, creates a campus identity, strengthens connectivity, and extends the Aquarium’s growing conservation work in the region.
Inside the building complex, the plan calls for a redesigned circulation sequence to enhance visitor flow through the exhibits and visitor amenities. The plan also creates and enriches spaces for education through a new unifying concept for the exhibits on both piers: while Pier 3 would offer an expansive tour of global “Hope Spots,” treasured places on the planet that are worth protecting, Pier 4 would become the domain of the region’s spectacular natural asset, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Coordinating the architectural experience with the exhibits and education spaces, the design takes visitors on a journey through the various ecological zones of the Chesapeake watershed, the United States’ largest estuary and among the most fragile. Educational labs and classrooms are integrated within both interior and exterior exhibits and reveal back-of-house functions like the fish kitchen. New program areas become intimately tied to the Aquarium’s conservation work.
By strengthening connections between urban and aquatic life, Studio Gang’s strategic master plan supports the Aquarium’s future success and goals to “fundamentally change the way people view and care for the ocean.” Ultimately, the plan positions the National Aquarium as a recognized leader in national and global debates concerning water quality, conservation, healthy harbors, and the future sustainability and practices of aquariums at large.