The Maritime Aquarium : Norwalk, CT
The Maritime Aquarium first opened in the late 1980’s as part of an urban revitalization effort. After eight successful years, the Aquarium had clarified its mission and wanted to expand. Our new master plan gives the Aquarium greater physical depth by restructuring the entry, circulation and paths and the linkage of its buildings, creating a more dynamic setting for exploring and explaining the aquatic world. The work will be completed in two phases and is expected to increase visitor attendance, enhance the overall ambiance of the streetscape and provide additional parking.
As the first phase is complete, an adjacent old industrial building has become the aquarium’s Environmental Education Center, housing state-of-the-art demonstration laboratories, lecture rooms, a gift shop and restaurant. It links to the main building by a concourse leading to a spiral glass rotunda, the new iconic image of the aquarium and the main entrance, which brings visual and experiential excitement to the precinct. Visitors will make the transition from the everyday into the realm of the sea, winding around a circular water exhibit from the street to the lobby and main exhibit level.
The second phase will consist of a series of enhancements to the interior of the main building, which will be laid out in thematic neighborhoods like a town. A central circulation axis will act as a street organizing the spaces. Exhibit rooms will branch out into wings containing coastal and deep water exhibits and discovery labs. A central reception/exhibit space, Falconer Hall will be an interior “square” crossed by the street linking to views of the river.