This was a student project by Nicholas Cesare for John Kelleher's ARCH 442 course, Winter 2008.
"This project called for the creation of an aquarium and marine life hospital in Kuwait City, on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The normative approach for aquarium design involves the idea of immersion- that is, that the architecture is meant to fade into the perceptual background as much as possible, leading to the simulation of an underwater environment. In formulating a conceptual basis for the new aquarium, the standard notions of immersion and feigned naturalism were replaced with a more conspicuous mode of architecture. Keeping this in mind, the aquarium was designed to act as an instrument for viewing the exhibits in such a way as to heighten the visitor's awareness of the artificiality of the built environment. The architecture becomes an instrument for the seeing and understanding of fish, surgery, information, and entertainment. It does not pretend to be what it is not.
The building is organized around a series of diagonal ramp corridors, connecting the primary exhibit spaces situated along the perimeter. The ramps also continue to the ground plane, linking building and site in a confluence of trajectories that are defined by the building's edge. The space between the ramps holds the hospital program, an interactive discovery zone, an IMAX theater, and a restaurant and store. At the terminus of each path, as the visitors are led into the next exhibit, they are presented with a staged view of the surrounding site as it relates to the nature of the exhibit (for example, a framed view of the sea precedes the ocean life exhibit). In this way, site and exhibit work together."
-- Nicholas Cesare