New England Aquarium Giant Ocean Tank

Boston, MA

Improving on the original: applying Universal Design to enhance everyone’s aquarium experience.

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The Project

The project that set the standard for modern aquarium design was in need of repair and an update.  As the original architect 40 years prior, we were eager to apply the design innovations that our new aquarium designs employ, especially in the areas of accessibility and interactive visitor experience.

The Approach

The signature feature of that groundbreaking design is the circular descent around the window-wrapped central tank, with continuous diver’s-eye views into the aquatic world. In repairing the concrete tank, we were able to increase the windows’ size, eliminate a lower barrier and improve sight lines. Access to the top of the tank has been improved and a full glass railing around the tank’s perimeter provides all visitors with easy views down into the tank. New presentation platforms, lighting and graphics augment the immersive educational experience.

The Result

The renovation has not only greatly improved visitors’ engagement with the exhibit’s Caribbean reef habitat, but it has also doubled the tank’s capacity of fish. From the top-side tank viewing enhancements, presentation platforms and new interactive education center to the expansive view along the spiral descent, accessibility has been elegantly integrated.

aquatic animals

800+

Myrtle, the green turtle

560lb

shark wall

1

gallons of water

200,000

deep

23ft

viewing bays

67

Team Leaders

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