Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB

Italian architects win New York aquarium design competition with retractable roof proposal

Italian architecture studio Lissoni Associati have won a design ideas contest for a new aquarium and public waterfront park in New York.

The competition was launched by organisers Arch Out Loud in January 2016 in a bid to receive proposals for an "iconic new destination" to revitalise the borough of Queens.

The winning design, called Aquatrium, creates an environment whereby visitors feel that they are entering the water to discover the beauty of the marine life on display.

In the concept, the site, located on the East River, is excavated to become a large water basin, with the aquarium and a marine centre located on a submerged two-level island. A boardwalk surrounds the basin as a floating ring, creating a pathway linking the city and a new beach-themed public park to the aquarium.

The aquarium itself, which features a retractable roof, would be formed of eight triple-height transparent biodomes representing the four oceans and four seas. The North and South Poles are expressed by a readily-visible iceberg in the centre of the atrium.

“With the retractable roof, the aquarium can be a living shell that opens to the sky during the day to reveal the sea worlds and which closes as darkness falls to take on a ‘second life’ as a planetarium,” said studio founder Piero Lissoni. “This protects the arena and the biome domes within, like a shell protects the pearl.”

All submissions had to feature a main lobby, at least four exhibit areas, service spaces and marine research facilities to address sustainability issues.

The winning design will be used by Arch Out Loud to promote the benefits an aquarium would bring to Queens as “a new platform for cultural architecture and experimentation.”

Talking about the East River as a location for an aquarium, Lissoni said: “No better position could be chosen to represent the most important NYC aquarium. Our project creates a dynamic system that interacts with its surroundings, offering multiple ways to experience the water world.”

Lissoni's studio have previously designed The Oberoi, Al Zorah in Dubai: a luxury eco-destination nestled within 247 acres of forest.

Arch Out Loud  aquarium  design  architecture  Lissoni Associati  Queens  New York 
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Italian architecture studio Lissoni Associati have won a design ideas contest for a new aquarium and public waterfront park in New York. The competition was launched by organisers Arch Out Loud in January 2016 in a bid to receive proposals for an "iconic new destination" to revitalise the borough of Queens. The winning design, called Aquatrium, creates an environment whereby visitors feel that they are entering the water to discover
The aquarium and a marine centre would be located on a submerged two-level island situated in a large water basin on the East River / Arch Out Loud/Lissoni Associati
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Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB