Blue Planet, Kastrup, Denmark

Date Built
Blue Planet is a dramatic new aquarium building on the coast of Denmark in the Kastrup suburb of Copenhagen.  The building is close to Copenhagen airport and looks out over the Øresund and the fixed link joining Denmark to Sweden.  The architect explains that the building is clad in, " ... small diamond-shaped aluminium plates, known as shingles, which adapts to the building's organic form. Just as water aluminium reflects the colours and light of the sky and thus the buildings expression varies with the changes in its natural surroundings."  The shape of the building, as seen from above, was inspired by, " ... the whirl streams of the sea, shoals of fish, and swirling starlings turning the sky black."

The aquarium says that, " ... From the entrance, the visitor steps into the vortex of the whirlpool – the round lobby – and is drawn inside the spiral towards the 53 aquariums and installations." 3XN add that their intention was to create a design that pulled the visitors into, "... another world - a world beneath the surface of the sea. ...  The circular foyer is the central point of navigation in the aquarium. Here visitors choose which river, lake or ocean to explore. By enabling multiple routes the risk of queues in front of individual aquariums is reduced."

An article in World Architecture News focused on 3XN's building points out that, "Like watery currents, the building is not static – the movement continues into the future by virtue of always allowing possible extensions to add more, simply by letting the lines of the whirlpool grow further out. Any expansion would cause a minimum of inconvenience to the contemporary exhibitions and the existing parts of the building. The extensions can simply be added to an individual arm, solely closing this particular section down during the extension process and not re-opening it until completion. Secondly, the key element is that any new building volumes added will be extensions of the architecture, with any expansion of the aquarium simply taking place in a natural dialogue with the building itself."

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