Location: Kopli Peninsula, Tallinn, Estonia
Site: Noblessner Marina, Tallinn
Program: 2560 m2 exhibition, education facilities over insulated underwater aquarium
Cost: 11 million euro
Alistair Cattenach, Chris Moller, Chris Winwood, Jaap Dankert, Kaynemaile, Patrick Arnold, Stephen Brown, WT Partnership
Situated amongst working docks, industrial buildings, Maritime Museum, Noblessner Marina and the new waterfront promenade are transforming the old water edge into a truely public domain. Here a submerged underwater world extends upwards from the marina breakwater into the open air. The glowing red beacon attracts visitors to experience a journey upwards to the sky lookout through interactive exhibits, before diving down to “the deep” via an underwater tube walk through the aquarium tanks below. The Aquarium is built of durable materials including concrete, glass and an outer skin of robust polycarbonate chainmail an extremely durable yet elegant material which acts as weather skin, daylight modulator, sun shade. It absorbs the changing light of the sky, the moods of the sea, reflects light and gives an indication of activity within according to angle of vision, daylight, and weather. The building’s foundation emerges from the sea, made of concrete to create a 32m x 20m tank at the end of the Marina breakwater. From this a framework of concrete columns at 8m centers rise up to support the skin, between the columns are woven a series of circulating ramps housing a range of carefully sequenced interactive and educational exhibits. The overall composition, structure, and skin are all informed by a woven spatial structure based on a 2m module utilizing folded and bent geometries to achieve a logical and unified whole.