Winning project from the Italian architect Piero Lissoni: a submerged, two-level island aquarium on New York's East River!
Arch Out Loud organized a competition, looking for the perfect idea for a stunning waterfront project for LIC's 11th Street Basin -an intertwined public aquarium and park for Queens, offering valuable waterfront spaces to be used and enjoyed by the citizens and tourists alike.
Over 565 participants from 40 countries submitted 178 proposals, but there could be, of course, only one winner. The jury was ultimately impressed by Lissoni's design called "AQUATRIUM" as it presented "an innovative idea of having visitors "submerged" underwater to experience the main part of the aquarium."
"Aquatrium project creates a dynamic system that interacts with its surroundings, offering multiple ways to experience the water world represented by eight triple-height transparent biomes: four Oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Southern) and four Seas (Caribbean, Mediterranean, Tasman and Red Sea), while the North and South Poles are expressed by a readily visible iceberg in the center of the Atrium," wrote Lissoni's team in their proposal.
They continued: "The main idea is to generate an environment whereby visitors feel that they themselves are entering the water to discover the beauty of the marine life on display; 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, protecting the arena and the biome domes within, like a shell protects the pearl. Having the water level define the starting point of the project, the site is excavated to become a spacious and innovative water basin, with the Aquarium and Marine Center forming a submerged two-level island accessed via a perimetral ramp that starts from the lobby entrance and leads visitors along the biome pathway. A sloped beachfront encloses the Parking area to form a panoramic public space, while a boardwalk surrounds the basin to become a floating ring connecting the two waterfronts and encompassing the Aquarium and its sliding roof."