Monterey Bay Aquarium wins AIA Twenty-Five Year Award

January 20, 2016

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to receive the 2016 Twenty-Five Year Award. This national award recognizes “architectural design of enduring significance conferred on a building project that has stood the test of time by embodying architectural excellence for 25-35 years.” 

“It is such a great honor to be recognized by our peers for a project that is so representative of EHDD’s legacy. This beloved project means so much to our firm, as well as those who visit the Aquarium and are captivated by not only its function, but also its integration into the spectacular site,” said EHDD President and Principal Duncan Ballash.

Completed in 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a light-filled ensemble of diverse spaces, unique among aquariums in its interweaving of the indoors and out. Built over land and water, it embraces views of the Bay, whose ecosystem it celebrates first-hand. The Monterey Bay Aquarium hosts two million annual visitors and has been cited as inspiration for other aquariums across the United States and around the world. It has had global impact on issues of ocean health, education and conservation.

EHDD Founding Principal Charles “Chuck” Davis, – who served as the design principal for the Monterey Bay Aquarium – commented, “I can say without equivocation that the Monterey Bay Aquarium changed the direction and focus of the firm. At the time we did not know how important the project would become, but I did have a feeling. We believed that because the project was backed by the Packard Family, it would be a success. And David and Lucile’s proven track record of achievement is still being maintained by their daughters today.” 

When the Packards asked EHDD to design the Monetary Bay Aquarium, their main requirement was that the building last 50 years. Thirty-two years later, the aquarium is not only still standing, it enjoys enduring and widespread popularity and is equally cherished by tourists and locals alike.

“It’s quite the technical achievement when a building can accommodate multiple changes the way that Monterey Bay Aquarium has,” said EHDD Principal and Aquarium Expert Marc L’Italien. “It has been a great privilege for our firm to continue to be called upon to upgrade, expand and evolve our original concept throughout the last 30 years,” L’Italien said.

EHDD’s mission is to create built environments that align and advance the interests of our clients, the environment and society. And building flexible and adaptable spaces is the ultimate mark of sustainable design.

Previously, EHDD won the AIA California Council Twenty-Five Year Award for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 2011.

The comments from the 2016 AIA jury that selected the Monterey Bay Aquarium include:

  • "A benchmark and role model for aquariums everywhere."
  • "A brilliant, gritty adaptive reuse, and still at the forefront of interactive museum space."
  • "Opens to the water so successfully…It's not slavishly contextual but adds more and respects what's there."

For more coverage of the awards in Architect Magazine, click here




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