The Northern Europe’s largest aquarium is the recently opened “Blue Planet”, an oustanding and magical place that offers visitors a truly unique experience of the world beneath the surface of the sea. With an impressive structure that extends over an area of almost 100,000 square feet, Denmark’s new National Aquarium is located on an elevated headland towards the sea, north of Kastrup Harbor, Copenhagen.
Designed by renowned architecture firm 3XN, The Blue Planet’s distinctive building took inspiration from the whirl streams of the sea, shoals of fish, and swirling starlings turning the sky black. The construction is visualized as a whirlpool which introduce visitors the fascinating world of the sea creatures.
Seen from above, it looks like a giant conch shell, that connects the sea with the landscape, being plain visible for travellers arriving by plane at the nearby Copenhagen Airport. In this way, the building’s organic form with outdoor ponds tells the story of what awaits you inside. Its expression modifies as the natural surrounding changes due to its facade covered with small diamond-shaped aluminum plates, known as shingles.
By following the first and longest of the whirlpool’s whirls, visitors get to the entrance. Inside the building, another world is revealing to you, a fabulous world seen by most of us only from TV documentaries. Sharks, dwarf crocodiles and sea lions, The Blue Planet is home to more than 450 different species and 20,000 fish and aquatic creatures. Exhibits of Africa’s lakes, the Amazon river and coral reefs are definitely something worth seen and visitors can explore them in the circular foyer which is the central point of navigation in the aquarium. Multiple routes are whriled in the slightly curved sequence of rooms, enabling flexible movement between exhibitions. A few meters away, there is a restaurant with a splendid view of the sea.
The new aquarium was estimated to attract nearly 700,000 visitors each year.
Photos © Adam Mørk
Location: Kastrup, Denmark
Prizes: The prize ‘In-Situ Prisen 2013’ awarded by the Danish concrete association, Dansk Beton
Client: The Blue Planet Building Foundation (Realdania, Knud Højgaards Fond, Tårnby Kommune)
Floor area: 9,700 m2
Completion year: 2013
Architect: 3XN Architects
Partners: Engineering: Moe & Brødsgaard // Exhibition Design: Kvorning Kommunikation og Design // Landscape Architect: Henrik Jørgensen LANDSKAB // Aquarium Techniques: AAT
The Blue Planet New Aquarium in Copenhagen