Danish Architecture Guide

The Blue Planet

Regardless of whether you arrive on land, by water, or from the air, it is difficult to overlook the new aquarium,Den Blå Planet('The Blue Planet'). The building is spectacularly shaped like a giant whirlpool, a 'maelstrom', which engulfs visitors and gives them the feeling of being sucked down under the surface of the sea.

From the entrance, you proceed to the centre of the whirl, the round foyer. Here, you are literally under the sea, because the ceiling is made of glass and you look up through the bottom of a basin. Daylight is refracted by the water in the basin and creates a flickering of dots of light in the room, as if you were really under the sea.

From the foyer in the centre, five 'tentacles' radiate outwards, each one housing a different division of the aquarium and all kinds of exotic underwater creatures in cold, warm, salty and fresh surroundings. Each division has an entrance from the foyer, so you yourself choose your own direction through the Blue Planet. The complex geometry and organic expression of the Blue Planet made it somewhat of a construction puzzle to build. The building consists of a steel frame, clad with sheets of aluminium, all with the same dimensions.

Covering an area of 9,000 m² and with aquarium technology which has to operate 24 hours a day, the Blue Planet is not exactly a leading light of sustainability. Nevertheless, the engineers have done their best to create solutions, which reduce energy consumption quite considerably: these include seawater cooling, insulation and low energy windows.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014 / By Kasper Egeberg

Last updated Wednesday, February 12, 2014