The New York City Aquarium and Public Waterfront becomes a key cultural destination by intertwining private, communal, and public spaces. By doing so, the answer to the place becomes a fundamental element in the design process. In an environment that is primarily owned by private developers, the building creates connections between the pedestrian and the urban context to generate useful public space that has a visual dialogue with the place.
The project responds to a new typology by breaking an inside learning experience, commonly seen in other aquariums around the world. This is shown by proposing three salt marshes that serve as educational public spaces and as a system of water control that creates a new micro ecosystem for local plant and animal species.
Inside the building, the user encounters a system of ramps and passageways that change from floor to floor and tanks that introduce new ways to experience underwater environments. The exit path creates a visual dialogue with the urban context, by proposing a space between the outside and the inside, and leads the user to visit and enjoy the waterfront park. The park is modulated by a figure that allows a diversity of uses and contains spaces that generate a relationship between the user and changing tides.