Den Blå Planet
The National Aquarium Denmark on the Øresund coast leads visitors deep under the surface of the sea in a spectacular building whose design was inspired by the movement of water.
On the coast of Amager Strand (see left) is The Blue Planet, a spectacular building shaped like a giant whirlpool, which houses Copenhagen’s new aquarium.
Approching it, visitors have the feeling of being sucked down under the surface of the sea and from the entrance they proceed to the centre of the whirl: the round foyer. There the ceiling is made of glass, making the visitors feel as if they’re looking up through the bottom of a basin. Daylight is reflected by the water and creates a flickering of dots of light across the room.
From the foyer, five ‘tentacles’ radiate outwards, each housing a different division of the aquarium and all kinds of exotic underwater creatures in cold, warm, salty and fresh surroundings. It’s a design that allows visitors to choose their own path through Den Blå Planet.
Its complex geometry and organic expression made it somewhat of a construction puzzle to build. The building consists of a steel frame clad with sheets of aluminium, all with the same dimensions.
Covering an area of 9,000m2, and with aquarium technology operating 24 hours a day, Den Blå Planet is not exactly a leading light in sustainability. Nevertheless, engineers have done their best to create solutions that reduce energy consumption quite considerably, including seawater cooling, insulation and low-energy windows.