In June 2010, Henning Larsen Architects won 1st Prize in Invited Competition for its new aquarium design in the Georgian seaport of Batumi. Batumi is the capital of the southwestern province Adjara, situated adjacent to the Black Sea. Batumi is an active tourist centre and commercial port, hosting numerous cafés, beaches, hotels, and other cultural and recreational areas. The new 2,000 m2 aquarium combines educational, commercial, and recreational programmes. Programmatic elements are divided into distinct hubs, or pebbles, organized around a central public zone. The aquarium layout constitutes four self-supporting exhibition areas where each of the four stones represents a unique marine biotype: Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea / Red Sea, Aegean Sea, and Indian Ocean. The four separate exhibitions are connected by a central, multipurpose space including a café, auditorium, and retail functions with views of the Black Sea and Batumi Beach. The educational intention of Batumi Aquarium is triangulated in a spatial arrangement: listening (auditorium), experiencing (witnessing, learning, absorbing), and experimenting (workshops). Spaces are juxtaposed in a configuration that allows for a stimulating, interactive environment. The aesthetic design of Batumi Aquarium is extracted directly from the pebbles of Batumi Beach. The ingrained, nostalgic notion of the Black Sea has shaped the shoreline of the Republic of Georgia and has perpetually nurtured a rich marine life. The Batumi Aquarium will embody an iconic rock formation visible from both land and sea. Estimated date of completion: 2013.
Established in 1959, Henning Larsen Architects (HLA) is a world-renowned architecture studio with Scandinavian roots and global reach. In order to best serve our clients and projects world-wide, the main office in Copenhagen, Denmark is supported by offices in Damascus, Reykjavik, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. HLA designs with a high degree of social responsibility - not only in relation to materials and production but also regarding positive, social spaces encouraging intimacy and community. We consider energy reduction a parameter equal to traditional structural parameters. Sustainable objectives include social values in addition to infrastructural, demographic and climatic values. Our projects currently comprise buildings and master plans in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Spain, Georgia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, and the Netherlands. HLA cultivates site-specific concepts from an interactive dialogue between global collaborators, demanding clients and knowledgeable users. In the last 5 years, Henning Larsen Architects has been awarded 1st prize in over 25 international competitions on the basis of creative, compelling solutions to complex challenges.