aA served as design architect on one of three teams commissioned to prepare proposals for a public aquarium near a urban waterfront. The site is historically and geologically complex: the city's original 18th century shoreline lies beneath, and the site is dominated by the massive base of a communications and observation tower that reads more as a geological structure than a built form. The aquarium design suggests a series of plate-like elements pushed apart by the vertical thrust of the tower, as though the structure itself has burst up from the lake bed.
This idea is reinforced by the use of shale as cladding and paving. The canted and skewed planes of the building blur the distinction between walls and roofs, and provide an architectural vocabulary that can respond flexibly to current and future programmatic requirements. A reflecting pool alludes to the historic water's edge, and enlivens the south face of the aquarium. At night, in-ground lighting reflects on the surface of the 'moat', casting dappled reflections upward on the building eaves.