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What If New York City's Next Aquarium Were Underwater?

By Nicole Levy | May 12, 2016 5:50pm

Coney Island Aquarium has nothing on this hypothetical competition.

A content-winning design for a new aquarium in New York City places it partly on land and partly in the East River.

The "aquatrium" — as the Italian design team headed by Piero Lissoni has christened it — would invite visitors to take a ramp from a water-level entrance in Long Island City, Queens into a man-made basin. 

"The main idea is to generate an environment whereby visitors feel that they themselves are entering the water to discover the beauty of the marine life on display," says the proposal that won first place in an open-idea design competition organized and adjudicated by arch out loud.

The submerged aquarium would feature eight tanks, each representing one of the major oceans or seas. Its sliding roof would connect it to an island park during the day and transform the space into a planetarium at night.


The "aquatrium" during the day (above) and at night (below)

The "aquatrium" would operate, according to its creators, like "a living shell that opens to the sky during the day to reveal the sea worlds and which closes as darkness falls to take on a 'second life' as a planetarium, protecting the arena ... like a shell protects the pearl."

We'd definitely be willing to spend the night there, a la "The Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankwiler."