Ideas contest seeks designs for New York aquarium in Queens

by Kim Megson | 05 Jan 2016

Architecture competition organisers Arch Out Loud has launched an ideas contest for a new aquarium and public waterfront park in New York.

The group has called on architecture teams to propose an "iconic new destination" – located along the East River within the borough of Queens – capable of revitalising the area and attracting tourists.

“Many New York sites with access to the waterfront are being absorbed by private developers, but with the constant return of people to the urban core the need to create public and cultural infrastructure has become more prevalent,” said Arch Out Loud.

“What kind of easily accessible public space does the city not already have? It’s filled with numerous icons, parks, theatres, and museums. We have proposed an aquarium because this cultural and public commodity only has a small presence in the Manhattan area.

“Modern aquariums have become a new platform for cultural architecture and experimentation, and a new one in Queens would create a destination easily accessible from the city's five boroughs.”

The existing New York Aquarium on Coney Island is the city’s largest, and is currently building a 57,000sq ft (5,300sq m), three-story structure to house a new US$157m (€145.6, £107m) exhibit called Ocean Wonders: Sharks! featuring more than 115 species of marine wildlife. Arch Out Loud believe this site fails to serve locals living in Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, plus the millions of tourists who visit New York every year.

The design contest remains purely an ideas competition at the present time, although the winning designs will be used to promote the possibility of building an aquarium on the site. Competing architects are encouraged to consider the chosen development site as a blank slate.

All submissions must include a main lobby, at least four exhibit areas, service spaces and marine research facilities to address sustainability issues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the US in 2012. The relationship between the exterior waterfront areas and the interior conditions of the aquarium must also be considered in the design.

The registration and submission deadline for the competition is 18 April, 2016. Finalists will be named two days later, with the winners announced on 25 April.

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Architecture competition organisers Arch Out Loud has launched an ideas contest for a new aquarium and public waterfront park in New York. The group has called on architecture teams to propose an "iconic new destination" – located along the East River within the borough of Queens – capable of revitalising the area and attracting tourists. “Many New York sites with access to the waterfront are being absorbed by private developers,
Arch Out Loud believe an aquarium will revitalise the New York borough of Queens / Zac Wolf
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