Mote Science Education Aquarium

Sarasota, FL

A high-impact design to match Mote’s “Oceans for All” call to action.


The Project

Mote Marine Laboratory, a leader in marine research and education is embarking on a bold new initiative to improve access to marine science and technology with an equally bold new aquarium. Designed to herald their grand vision, Oceans for All, the new facility is prominently sited in a popular park near major thoroughfares and will be a destination to educate and energize tomorrow’s custodians of our blue planet.

The Approach

During the planning phase, several site options and configurations were explored within the development basin. The preferred choice places the building where it has the greatest visibility and opportunity for an enhanced visitor journey. Inspired by a water droplet suspended at that moment of tension as it hangs ready to drop, the design exploits its convex form for maximum visibility and impact, a key design directive. The unique shape also informs the exhibits’ programming. Visits begin at the top widest level with terrestrial exhibits and descend down through the ocean’s depths. The louvered exterior acts as both sun shading and a display surface for digital graphics.

The Result

In addition to the interactive exhibits showcasing habitats and scientific research from around the world, the new facility features a STEM resource center and classrooms on the ground floor that open out to the demonstration deck, fronting the wetland basin. A multi-purpose event space caps the building with a 360-degree vantage across Sarasota County. Nature trails wend throughout the abutting wetlands.

total area


outdoor science park


gallons of exhibits


LEED Certification


anticipated annual visitors




This spectacular new facility and campus will embody our vision of Oceans for All, doubling the number of visitors whose lives are enriched by marine science each year, and providing no-cost opportunities for all schools to utilize specialized teaching labs to ensure that every child has the opportunity for hands-on marine science and technology experiences.

Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President and CEO, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Team Leaders

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