London Architecture firm Baca Architects has designed a whale-shaped building as the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre. This playful marine observatory will be partially submerged in the sea in Western Australia and give visitors a stunning view of life below the surface of the water. The design will replace the existing structure to be the largest of its kind. In doing so, it will provide much needed additional space to meet the previously overwhelming tourist demand.
The unique form, which features the whale's “head” rising out of the water, was picked for the marine observatory after a public vote between three possible concepts. “The brief set out the client's spatial needs and a requirement to deliver something iconic which will draw tourists in,” says Richard Coutts, director of Baca Architects. This is why the three potential designs included abstractions of sea-related icons that could become an important landmark for the center. The whale breaching water, known as the Cetacean Design, beat out a somewhat submerged cave design and an abstracted ship, known as the Rock and Voyage, respectively.
The interior of the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre is minimally designed with some openings acting as the eyes of the whale; it's how visitors will see beneath the water. To get here, architects intend for guests will be guided through a carefully designed procession that will take them through art galleries and exhibition spaces on the way to the large observatory floor. You may be able to experience this incredible space yourself as early as December 2022.
If you love this modern take on a classic biological form, check out the similarly inspired museum designed by Danish architecture firm Dorte Mandrup called The Whale. It too is an elegant architectural work inspired by the majestic ocean mammals.