PROJECT GRANTED WITH THE GRAND PRIZE
Object of the contest: the building of a Natural History Museum Complex on the site that currently hosts the Dolphinarium in Constanta, modernizing the dolphinarium, building of an aquarium, an exotarium and the design for a botanical garden.
The construction of a Modern Museum of Natural Science, equipped according to the latest requirements, may represent for Constanta, for the region, and for Romania a huge opportunity to attract tourists, being unique in this part of Europe for its size. Therefore, to further increase its attractiveness and make it an important point in the Black Sea tourist track, we designed it as an amusement and leisure park, with a rich offering of activities to meet the different public group demands.
The architecture of this complex emphasizes and supports the program that it shelters. The Program of Studies and Research Center of the Life in Seas and Oceans promotes awareness, curiosity, openness, thinking, responsibility towards nature and the spectacle of life. Architecture can express them all through a flexible, open, bright, and exciting space. Architecture can be part of the show – a unique experience in the course of the museum.
It was very important to create a link between the urban park and esplanade of the nearby lake with the boulevard crossing by, thus we thought of building the museum terrace as a spectacular urban square, open to the city and its inhabitants. We have also proposed a new esplanade and a recreation area next to the museum in the Gulf.
The complex is composed of the museum building (the museum space) and the court (micro-reserve and botanical garden) with a few pavilions – botanical greenhouses, observatory and animal shelters. The walking tour is inside the museum throughout the year, considering the extremes of climate in Romania. But in the warm seasons, the route can be free between the ground and the first floor, to the visitor’s choice.
The main functions of the museum are: aquarium, dolphinarium, orcas pool, exotarium with tropical greenhouse, pools for seals and penguins, the planetarium – 3D cinema, observatory and botanical greenhouses.
The aquarium is organized on three levels and has about 9 basins with different geographic themes, the Oceanarium playing an important role. The Dolphinarium has, besides the demonstration basin sized to accommodate four dolphins, birth, quarantine, and rest pools and, again a novelty for Romania, a pool for therapy with dolphins. Besides the Dolphinarium, the museum proposes shows with orcas. A pool specially designed for this purpose, impressive in size as it requires a depth of 30m, is located in the western part of the complex.
The planetarium, the conference hall and the 3D cinema complex can function separately, outside the museum’s schedule, as it has a separate entrance, lobby and cloakroom. All main functions and the annexes are sheltered by a sphere located inside the museum building, covered with stainless steel so that it reflects and gathers all the interior space, creating a show and announcing its function. Inside the museum, one can also find the botanical greenhouses, with laboratory activities for the visitors and a sale exhibition for houseplants. The Astronomical Observatory is located on the shore lake, in the middle of the botanical garden. Being a pavilion, separated from the body of the museum, it can also be visited outside the museum’s schedule. The specific night program is completed by a daytime program comprising exhibitions and the panoramic coffee bar.
The inter-museum space is an area that houses all the related functions specific to a museum complex: video projection rooms, mini auditoria for discussions and presentations, workshop rooms and playgrounds, cafes, rest and relaxation areas.
The outdoor botanical garden is organized into sections and will comprise the area between the two lakes. Botanical areas can occur throughout the museum route, including the building’s patios. All the valuable species already on site will be saved and replanted in this area.
The micro-reserve design will draw mainly from the nature of the Delta – landscape, ecosystems, geography, flora and fauna, and will provide a natural setting for animals, the delimitation of their habitat and visitors being done in a natural way. Thus, the whole concept will be based on nature protection and biodiversity of the delta.Location: Constanta, Romania
Design team: Eliza Yokina, Adrian Soare, Elena Dragu, Sebastian Lupea, Irina Plopeanu
Client: The Territorial Council of Constanta
Plot area: 13ha
Built area: 79.520sqm
Award: Grand Prize