Speculative design contest proposes a futuristic submerged aquarium on LIC waterfront

All photos courtesy of Arch Out Loud

Dream with us … It’s a Sunday and you’re walking on the East River waterfront in Long Island City. You take the boardwalk, which flows on the water and walk right into a submerged, beautifully futuristic island, which features an aquarium where you admire the marine life itself.

Unfortunately, the Long Island City aquarium is not something Queens residents are likely to experience soon. The design comes from the winning proposal of the speculative New York City Aquarium and Public Waterfront Competition meant to generate ideas. Held by Arch Out Loud, the mission of the design and architecture competition is to create unique opportunities for designers to investigate the challenges in our world and to explore new solutions and alternatives to conventional methods.

Nick Graham from Arch Out Loud told QNS that one of the driving factors to select Long Island City as the target site of the competition was the influx of private housing development in the neighborhood.

“While these projects integrate new parks, there is little ‘program space’ to attract the public to the waterfront,” he said. “With the new plan for Roosevelt Island, the Long Island City area, along with the Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, are drawn into a greater connection with each-other and the river.”

The winning proposal comes from Milan-based Piero Lissoni and his team from Lissoni Architettura. In the rendering, the project is placed in the 11th Street (Anable) Basin, close to the nearby LIC Flea & Food market, and on property adjacent to 44th Drive.

Designers proposed that the site is excavated to become a spacious water basin, with the Aquarium and Marine Center forming a submerged two-level island. The island could be accessed through a ramp that connects the lobby and leads visitors along the biome pathway.

The proposal suggests building a a sloped beachfront, which would form a panoramic public space, and a floating boardwalk surrounding the basin and encompassing the aquarium and its sliding roof.

The sliding roof above the aquarium could be used on the days of inclement weather, and at nights it would transform the aquarium into a planetarium.

Who wouldn’t want to experience this amazing proposal in reality?

In the meantime, enjoy the renderings.





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