Inspired by the whirl streams of the sea, shoals of fish, and swirling starlings turning the sky black, 3XNs winning proposal is called ‘Whirlpool’. Indeed, from the round centre hall of the building the different parts are ‘whirled’ in the slightly curved sequence of rooms.
The Blue Planet building site is in Copenhagen, at the island of Amager, right at the coast of Øresund, north of Kastrup Havn, close to the Copenhagen Airport, and viewed from a plane the whirlpool shape will show in its full. Approaching on the ground, one will experience the building as floating in a circular reflection pool, and a walk through its interior is a travel through several organic worlds.
Designing The Blue Planet, the architects team was indeed inspired by nature, says principal of 3XN, Kim Herforth Nielsen. “We wanted to stage a totality of the experience one has visiting an aquarium. The starting point was this magnificent experience of actually watching fish in their element. We wanted to create that adventurous feeling, and we took inspiration in the natural phenomenon of the whirlpool or maelstrom drawing you into the deep. A sculpture at the coast it unites the natural elements of water, air and earth.”
Thus situated in the borderland between the worlds of Poseidon and Zeus, the walls and roofs form a single, continuous flow and are clad in a way which emphasises the wavy outline of the building, thereby telling a story of this union. The first and longest of the whirlpool’s arms follows the shape of the landscape and the building, moving into the land.