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Haptic Architects has put together a stunning new aquarium design for the city of Oslo. This project, which will be executed in Bærum, the outskirts of the city capital, is part of a larger urban renewal and water transformation initiative. This also happens to be the same site of Oslo’s former airport.
The centerpiece of the new aquarium is the two sloping domes that almost seem to rise from the water. Underneath are large glass walls that will offer viewers to the new aquarium splendid views of the scenery. The design is simple, yet highly elegant and sophisticated.
A look at the images of the undulating domes makes it difficult to imagine the complete structure. No worries, however. Visitors will find several outdoor amenities under one of the roofs, which they will also be able to cross on foot. What’s more, a network of surrounding walkways will connect the buildings to other closeby sites as well as a new beach designed for the city.
Tomass Stokke, the owner of the architectural design firm, explains the thinking behind the unique design: "I have always loved the Norwegian 'svaberg' rock [formation]s," adding, "They are beautiful, sculptural objects, that form natural pockets, ponds and seating areas, gently heated by the sun. We wanted to recreate the qualities of this, in creating an aquarium with a distinct Norwegian quality."
Developer Selvaag has been given the task of carrying out the construction beginning in 2020, with an expected opening in 2023. In addition, Haptic will collaborate with Norway-based architectural firm Rodeo to execute their vision and integrate it with the large-scale transformation project planned for the surrounding area: boat clubs, an array of new entertainment and shopping spots, and most noteworthy, a metro and ferry that will provide transportation to and from the area.
According to estimates, the building will cover 10,000 square meters, and the aquarium itself will contain a staggering seven million liters of water. This would make it the largest in the entire northern Europe region.
Stokke expressed his enthusiasm about not only the project, but in being part of the Oslo’s massive urban renewal plans:
"This is a unique opportunity and we are honoured to be part of this incredible project," said Stokke. "The aquarium is located on a stunning site and is well connected to the area and Oslo itself."
Uncovering the History Behind Domes
History shows us that domes are harder to build than you think, due to the unique physics behind the structure. Perhaps recognized as the grandest and loftiest design element, they require extra planning and sophisticated structures to support their weight. Columns and buttresses were used throughout earlier history to construct the greatest domes of our times, followed by a transition from heavy masonry to more lightweight metal ribs towards the late eighteenth century.
Examples of modern domes that alleviate the weight and distribute it more easily are the Geodesic domes which break up the dome with interconnected triangles, and slanted domes, much like the one designed by Haptic. As technology continues to change in the digital age, we look forward to seeing even more innovative approaches to pushing the evolution of the dome structure even further.