Boltshauser Architekten Zurich, a leading Swiss architectural firm, has won an international architectural competition held by the Basel Zoo.
Their proposed concept, dubbed Seacliff, has been chosen as the final design for Basel Zoo’s Ozeanium, Switzerland’s first large-scale ocean aquarium.
The competition was launched in February, 2012 and saw 55 teams bidding to build Basel Zoo’s planned Ozeanium on Heuwaage. Teams were required to include an architectural firm, an aquarium designer and a general planner. This was then narrowed down to 15 finalists vying to develop the exciting project.
The competition jury consisted of representatives from the cantonal Construction and Transport Department, Basel Zoo representatives and several leading architects.
The jury noted that all the entries were of an extremely high standard and offered some interesting solutions for Ozeanium.
“‘Seacliff’ was the best match for the public image cultivated by Basel Zoo,” explained jury member and Basel canton master builder Fritz Schumacher. “Under this proposal the above-ground building space on the Heuwaage site is smaller than for other competition entries, thus also offering the best solution from an urban development perspective.”
The jury was also impressed with the winning project’s clay and trass-lime façade and the way the winning entry optimised the use of the available space.
Seacliff’s design is notable for its innovative nature but remains humble enough not to compete with the beauty of the animal and plant life that will live in Ozeanium.
Designed to complement the Basel Zoo, developers anticipate the aquarium to draw large crowds of both local city residents and tourists to help liven up Heuwaage Square.
Boltshauser Architekten Zurich’s design images truly reflect the proposed breathtaking environment of the aquarium that will house coral reefs, sharks, rare giant octopuses and luminous marine organisms for its visitors.
The design beat out an impressive field of submissions, including ‘Watergate’ by HHF + Burckhardt Partner and Zaha Hadid.
The project is due for completion in 2019 and is expected to come at a cost of 60 to 80 million Swiss Francs.
All competition entrants’ works are currently on display at Messe Basel, Switzerland’s largest exhibition site.