The Blue Planet, a swirling vortex designed to suck you in to learn about life under the sea, opens this weekend in Copenhagen. Designed by 3XN, The Blue Planet is now Europe's largest aquarium and is devoted to education about aquatic animals as well as the important connection between water and the planet. Filled with 7 million liters of sea water, the aquarium has a variety of exhibitions to introduce the young and old to different animals and environments. Naturally, the aquarium is also dedicated to saving endangered species, improving water quality, protecting habitats and raising environmental awareness.
The Blue Planet is the newest version of the Denmark Aquarium in Copenhagen dating back to 1939. Located on the shores of Øresund, the aquarium has a picturesque view of the sea and convenient access to roadways and the city. Design of the project began back in 2007 through an international competition, which local firm 3XN won with their swirling proposal. Construction was completed in 2013 with an official opening date of March 22nd of 2013. The design is meant to draw you in, like a whirling vortex and pull visitors down into the depths of the water to explore and learn about life under the sea. Kim Herforth Nielsen, Creative Director and Principal at 3XN, who is the architect of the building explained, “Our wish was to bring our visitors all the way down to the world of the fish. Therefore, the design of The Blue Planet is based on the story about water and life under the sea. We visualise the construction as a whirlpool which draws visitors into the depths to the fascinating experiences waiting among fish and sea animals from all over the world.”
Upon entrance into the center of the vortex, the public can choose one of four whirls, each with different exhibitions including the coral reefs, the ocean, Africa’s lakes, the Amazon river, the Faro bird cliffs and even an exhibit about the ocean right outside the aquarium. The Blue Planet is home to 450 different species and 20,000 fish and other aquatic animals, which include sharks, sea lions, dwarf crocodiles, moray eels, barracudas and much more. Water inside the aquarium is filtered and recycled in a closed loop system, while seawater is used to keep the entire facility cool. One of the whirls with indoor gardens and vegetation is naturally lit from above with skylights.
The Blue Planet is devoted to nature conservation as well as raising awareness to water issues. The aquarium partners with researchers for scientific collaboration and work to reduce over-fishing, pollution and endangered species. It was also designed to be sustainable and self-sufficient as part of their mission to further and promote solutions that benefit the environment and nature. The Blue Planet opens officially to the public on March 22nd.
Images ©Adam Mørk