Not everyone who visits Antalya wants to go scuba diving to see the extraordinary Mediterranean marine life, but now they can still catch a glimpse of what lives under the sea’s surface thanks to a beautiful new aquarium on the Turkish Riviera.
Okyanus Aquarium Company commissioned Turkey’s Bahadir Kul Architects to design a 12,000 square meter aquarium with state of the art facilities. And it appears that they picked the right team.
A beautiful undulating facade mimics the fluidity of shifting water and a large cantilever provides a buffer zone between the outdoor area leading to the aquarium and the interior environment. This space also gives visitors a chance to escape from the harsh sun.
The ground floor hosts a visitor information area, an amphitheater, and a food court where guests can purchase refreshments either before or after touring the massive aquarium.
From there a ramp leads to the main exhibition area which eventually ends with a 131-meter-long tunnel that creates a simulated underwater environment, as though the guest were actually gliding through the crystal clear water along with sharks and fish and other marine creatures.
Fish-shaped cutouts throughout the facade bring plenty of natural light into the building, which helps to offset the amount of energy required to keep it illuminated. Still, it is a mammoth development, and the absence of any kind of renewable energy sources seems somewhat irresponsible, particularly since Turkey is known to have power outages in the summer.
And some critics will argue that aquariums are an anathema to nature, and there’s definitely some truth to that. But in order to inspire awe – particularly in young children – so that people feel compelled to care for their natural resources, they must first be exposed.
For some people who visit the world’s third most visited city, the aquarium will be their only contact with the great underwater world.
Lead image via Ket Kolektif, others via the architects