Located in the basement of the listed County Hall building on the Southbank, the London Aquarium attracts over 750,000 visitors every year. It is one of Europe’s largest displays of aquatic life, housing over 400 species including sharks, stingrays, turtles and clownfish.
The original aquarium was constructed in 1996 and needed updating, therefore Merlin Entertainments appointed Kay Elliot together with David Dexter Associates to redesign the aquarium experience. The renovations include an underwater tunnel, a new lift and staircase and a floating shark wall experience, as well as several new displays and an overhaul of the theming and decoration.
DDA worked with Kay Elliot and ITC to investigate the existing structure and implement the new design while maintaining the integrity of the listed building. One of the project’s main challenges was the difficulty of accessing the sub-basement; therefore the construction method used was subject to careful consideration. Furthermore, as the majority of the works are hidden by theming, speed and ease of construction were important factors. The design and construction of the project was completed within six months.
The resulting structure maintains the overall look of the architect’s original concept, while maintaining the construction requirements of the contractor and the time frame of the client.