Statement from Proctor and Matthews Architect:
“The Batumi Blue is an architectural sea creature on the shores of the Black Sea. It takes its distinctive form from the fluid sinuous forms and dramatic colouring of aquatic life forms – a giant sea slug!
Located in close proximity to the curvaceous profile of the Batumi dolphinarium, the new aquarium is sited to respond to the existing built form and also the landscaped waterfront promenade on the shores of the Black Sea.
The two long ‘fish scale’ facades define and embrace an inner tropical world of hanging landscapes, tree canopies and mysterious lagoons and pools. This internal focal landscape is conceived as a visual continuation of the tree promenade planting to the west of the site.
The Serpentine ‘scaley’ form of the principal aquarium walls is interrupted at the entrance to the new visitor attraction where the public leave the beach side promenade, step onto a boardwalk across the proposed site lagoon and enter the inner world of the immersive flooded tropical rainforest – a ‘breathing’ landscape lung at the centre of the buildings, complete with large exhibition aquarium, rock pools and water falls.
The visitor ascends through the landscape via escalator/elevators (some through acrylic tunnels with the tanks) and into the ‘plenum’ spaces at either side of the central landscape. Here a variety of themed exhibits, smaller tanks and the extensive servicing requirement are housed in a controlled environment where the manipulation of lighting is crucial to the success of the visitor experience.
Restaurant, education, Imax Cinema and retailing opportunities are located at the ground level with direct access to the ‘landscape lung’ and visual connection to the new lagoon and ‘lily pad’ terraces.
The iconic form is completed with a dramatic top lit canopy of ‘lily pad’ roundels, which control natural light into the central flooded rain forest, and provide dramatic daylight effects within the central visitor hub. The aquatic plant analogy is completed with a ‘forest’ of twisting column canopy supports which refer to the complex root structure of water lilies and the drama which exists beneath the tranquil water surface … the mysterious underwater world of the Batumi Blue.”
Proctor & Matthews Architects
Stephen Proctor, Andrew Matthews, Steven Davies, Pierre de Saint-Vincent, Benoit Sanson, Arthur Mamou-Mani
499-505 Hackney Rd