Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Albuquerque Aquarium (Phase II)
Great Barrier Reef and Pacific South Seas Exhibits

Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico
2012

The 320,000 gallon Pacific South Seas and Great Barrier Reef Exhibit will display the colorful and diverse fish found in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs of the South Pacific. The exhibit tank will brim with tropical fish, larger species, and a few small sharks. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the “seven natural wonders of the world,” is really a collection of over 2,500 separate reefs. This exhibit, displaying the wonders of the Reef, will excite the imagination of all visitors.

The programming phase identified the species of colorful fish to display, the educational topics to include, tank sizes, exhibit materials, corals, reef materials, and plants. With over 1,500 species of fish, 350 different kinds of coral, 4,000 species of mollusks, and 10,000 species of sponges to possibly include in the exhibit, the design team worked in tandem with the Aquarium Director and aquarium staff to achieve an expansive exhibit.

The design reflects a blending of the Aquarium staff’s knowledge of the fish of the South Pacific and the design team’s experience in how to best work with the site, develop spatial relationships, locate all support services for exhibit cleaning, feeding, veterinary services, and deliveries, and define visitor and staff circulation pathways. Basic engineering systems were overlaid on the design to verify system compatibility with the architectural design. Seen and unseen sustainable features are important to the project which is being targeted for U.S. Green Building Council LEED® Silver Certification.

Recognition:
  • Anticipated LEED® Silver Certification