Page D2.1 . 07 November 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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Aquarium as Lakeside Landscape

by Katharine Logan

The shore of Lake Superior, which forms part of the border between the United States and Canada, is a rugged, elemental landscape of rock, trees, and water. This vast region is unique in its geological, historical, natural, and cultural significance.

An award-winning aquarium and science center, conceived by architects Holt Hinshaw, and realized by Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. (HGA), celebrates the magnificence of this region.

The Great Lakes Aquarium at Lake Superior Center in Duluth, Minnesota is at home in its setting. Its scale and rugged form evoke multiple associations appropriate to the region: an industrial waterfront, a steel ship, a telescope trained on the landscape, the landscape itself.

"Using the lake as a lens to understand issues of history, ecology, and stewardship of the planet, we have created a facility that metaphorically represents the lake and its region," says Kara Hill, HGA project designer of the aquarium.

Monument in the Landscape

The building's massing expresses three distinct forms, each clad in a single, solid color. Shadows emphasize texture lines in the cladding, giving directional grain to the forms.



ArchWeek Image

The Great Lakes Aquarium by Holt Hinshaw Architects and Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc.
Photo: Richard Barnes Photography

ArchWeek Image

The entry draws the visitor into the lobby through a water wall of sandblasted glass panels.
Photo: Richard Barnes Photography


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