A new aquarium proposal showed up on ArcSpace earlier this month. The Danish firm of Henning Larson Architects recently won a competition to design a new aquarium for the republic of Georgia on the shores of Batumi. From ArcSpace:
Inspired by the characteristic pebbles of the Batumi beach, continually shaped by the wash of the waves through millennia, the building stands out as an iconic rock formation visible from both land and sea.The formation constitutes four self-supporting exhibition areas where each of the four stones represents a unique marine biotype – the Aegean Sea & the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea & the Red Sea and finally the more interactive exhibition.
While it certainly looks striking we struggle to see beyond the “one-liner” analogy here. Simply recreating an aspect of the environment (pebbles) at a grossly enlarged scale doesn’t argue for the appropriateness of form. Though perhaps there’s a subtle message here about the inversion of nature ( water is inside the stones rather than the more common opposite), though maybe not. The section tells all — it’s pretty much business as usual — rectilinear water boxes wrapped in fancy packaging. And we’re not structural engineers but to pull off that section would require a serious price tag. But then again who are we to judge — budget never gets in the way of a good public building.
More on Batumi from wikipedia here.