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Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, California
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As one of the first of its kind, the Monterey Bay Aquarium departed from traditional aquarium design by focusing on the unique marine ecology of one habitat: the Monterey Bay and its shoreline. Built over land and water, it embraces views of the Bay—the ecosystem it celebrates. The aquarium sits sensitively among the existing sardine processing plants and cannery buildings, utilizing the foundations—and rekindling the spirit—of the old Hovden Cannery.

The building is a light-filled ensemble of varied, well-proportioned spaces through which the visitor may chart their own course, rather than being locked into a linear path. The design strategy was to create an immersive experience that excites visitors’ senses and invokes a feeling of wonder. The aquarium presents more than 100 galleries and exhibits recreating the habitats of Monterey Bay. Some of the most spectacular habitats are constructed in massive acrylic-enclosed tanks, including a jewel jellyfish tank, a towering giant-kelp forest in a 335,000-gallon three-story tank, and a million-gallon shark tank. The experience is what amounts to a leisurely stroll through the ocean without getting wet.

Client
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Size
130,000 SF
Awards
1984 Award of Merit - ACI Northern California Chapter

1985 Honor Award - AIA California Council

1987 Top Honor Award - Current Project, Waterfront Center Awards Program for Excellence on the Water

1988 Honor Award - AIA Monterey Bay

1988 National Honor Award - American Institute of Architects

2011 25-Year Award - AIA California Council

2016 25- Year Award - AIA National
Energy Use Intensity
Predicted: N/A
Measured: N/A
Scope
Architecture
New Construction
Interior Design
Historic