A New Vision for the Seattle Aquarium
The Aquarium is one of Downtown’s most important cultural institution for families; for many of us, our annual memberships more than pay for themselves before the end of January. On June 16, several Downtown parents attended the Aquarium’s open house presentation of its proposed Master Plan that will guide the Aquarium’s development into 2020 and beyond. We’re excited to see the Aquarium planning to expand and update its already wonderful offerings, and design with the new Waterfront in mind.
While the Aquarium does a great job presenting exhibits and creating educational opportunities, Pier 60’s architecture leaves something to be desired. It puts its back to the sidewalk and creates dead space in one of the most heavily traveled walkways in the City. The new master plan, by contrast, prompts inviting spaces with the potential to engage both Aquarium visitors and passers-by alike. For its part, Pier 59, while beautiful, currently misses opportunities to showcase the natural beauty of Elliott Bay, whereas the proposed Master Plan puts food services and dining, as well as pedestrian circulation, right at the end of the Pier.
The Aquarium’s decision to expand east across the plaza, rather than to the north or south may provide operational challenges, but it minimizes the project’s environmental impacts. It also allows for great design, including the possibility of an active rooftop space integrated into the new Overlook Walk.