Singapore is an island. There is a lot of water that surrounds this country, and marine life that fills the oceans that enclose us. However, there are no rehabilitation centers, learning centers or volunteering areas that are quite close to the water. In addition, there are no organisations that help to inform people about the life under the sea, the dangers marine life face on a daily basis and overall, organisations providing aid for the harm that we are doing, due to the amount of trash that ends up in the waters everyday. I want to design an area where people are able to learn and understand about the different animals that can be found in the oceans surrounding Singapore and possibly see them with their own eyes, in aquariums, or during activities involving the convenience of the water being extremely close. This structure will not only be an area for visiting, but for people to learn and help bring awareness to the impact that certain aspects of their actions have on the wildlife, while also finding ways to reduce the use of plastics, starting with cleaning up the oceans, volunteering. Lastly, I want to use a part of the structure to create a rehabilitation center for the marine life, that are rescued, or brought in.
Users: The main people who would be interested or users of this space would be people who are interested in learning or wanting to know more about marine life, and life underwater. The users can also be people who want to begin helping, volunteering with cleaning up the oceans and the water, while also aiding for the wildlife that are possibly injured.
Needs: The users of this space would require basic necessities such as washrooms, spacious seating areas, possible learning centers with tables, chairs, couches, a cafe for the users, and other recreation activities, connected to the water. As one enters the architecture, they will clearly be able to see a reception/lobby area. There will also be a rehabilitation center/area, where there are experts in the field around to help aid, and teach others about helping the injured marine life. Also, there will be an aquarium, perfect for tourists, who want to learn about the different animals that can be found in the waters near Singapore. Lastly, I believe that having an open area outside, which is right near the water/ocean, will be very beneficial to volunteers who come to the space to help clean up the water and help the animals.
Insights: This piece of architecture that I design, should be able to withstand for a long time and be able to sustain the rain and humidity of Singapore, with the fact of being located quite close to the water too. The best material at the moment for this design would be concrete, as it is one of the most used materials in Singapore and it will be able to withstand the rapid changes in weather. The overall design of the architecture will be very different from the common buildings and structures that are found in Singapore. It will have quite an abstract shape, which will definitely catch the eye of tourists and visitors, due to its uniqueness in design and meaning.
After figuring out the path I wanted to take for my project I needed to conduct research, and see what are the similar components in other aquariums that are successful, and firsthand understand what are elements people enjoy when walking into an aquarium.
I first looked at aquariums around the world:
“Poseidon’s Realm” part of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Zoo
- The aquarium has a wave-shaped entrance which welcomes visitors, and the changing temperatures, ambient sounds and various cieling heights greatly add to the overall experience of the space for the visitors.
- The main path, from the entrance widens into smaller bays, that lead visitors to individual tanks, for their marine life, to give a more intimate and one-to-one experience between the animals and the people.
- Overall, the space has a very modern look, and definitely catches ones eyes.
National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, Devon
- This structure includes six exhibition areas, a large shop, a restaurant, a viewing gallery, an ice-cream parlour, washrooms, offices, workshop and engineering areas.
- There is also a 2.3 million litre ocean tank with a tunnel, an underwater cave and a coral reef exhibition tank and an auditorium for the visitors.
Oregon Coast Aqaurium
- The new center this aquarium is creating have a true facility for the animals they rehabilitate and help, behind the scenes.
- They will have a surgical facility as well for the marine life
- While making these renovations they are going to be improving the visitor experience, and they will be providing more knowledge to the visitors about the animals, through the help they are providing for the marine life. It will be a new look, rather than only looking at the animals through a glass.
With a depth introduction to different and unique pieces of architecture that share quite a similar purpose as my idea, I decided to interview an individual who would be a potential user of the space I am designing, but can also add to my design, and share their thoughts regarding the benefits and the certain drawbacks of the space: Stuti Sinha, a student at Singapore American School.
A pattern I found in the research I conducted, and my interview, was the fact that, there was a large emphasis on:
- Unique shape of the structure (should catch ones eyes
- Integrate activities that visitors are going to enjoy, and can’t find in another space
- Should consist of the basic necesities, washrooms, cafetaria, gift shop, offices, open space
- Windows are very important, should not be a completely enclosed space and a lot of natural light should come into the space
These were all factors I kept in mind when I started designing.
After considering the different requirements of my space and the multiple components I am integrating into the architecture, I found that East Coast Park, Singapore would be the perfect location for the structure.
I knew I wanted the appearance of the architecture to draw people in, so I decided to shape structure to resemble a fish that is quite popular in Singapore, yellow-tail scad.
Drawings – Schematics
Now knowing the location and the shape of the structure, I was able to create my Site Plan. It highlights the different elements that surround the space and it helped me use those elements to my advantage when designing.
Rooms in My Architecture:
- Rehabilitation Center
- 3 different Rooms to make up the center
- Each room designated for certain process and activities
- Also there will be an open space, with tanks for the animals
- Reception Area
- Will be an open space, that will lead to the different areas/sections of the architecture
- Will consist of multiple different exhibition areas, for the marine life
- All the different exhibition areas will lead to the center, with quite a large aquarium, which is large enough to allow people to dive, and the people on the other side are able to see exactly what is happening.
- Classrooms/Learning Centers
- 2 rooms, similar in design, where people are able to relax and be comfortable when learning.
- The rooms would also be used for the volunteers.
- Quite a large room, that can be used by the staff, and the visitors too.
- 4 washrooms located around the space
- For the use of the visitors
- The offices for the instructors and the staff
- Spaces for them to relax, and there will be washrooms near to where they are too.
- Gift Shop
- Will be located at the end of the aquarium exhibition/tour
- An average sized room
The Floor Plan was quite easy to create after clearly identifying the needs for the space.
Drawings – Design Development
Building Materials Moodboard:
Aquarium: Floor Plan
Hand-Sketch Floor Plan:
Rehabilitation Center: Floor Plan
SketchUp Floor Plan:
Call to Action
The marine life, and their habitats need preserving. The animals are living organisms that need to be cared for, and everyone should understand the ways these animals are getting harmed daily, and ways they are able to prevent the extinction of animals as well.
So here is what you can do:
Beach Cleanups is a beginning step in making this change. Learning about the different volunteering organisations in your community will help you see the different possibilities you are available to, regarding helping our environment. An example of an organisation, that do infact participate in Global Beach Cleanups is “Ric O’ Barry’s Dolphin Project.”
Understanding the Issue, is also something we can do. If we know more about what is happening in the world and the different ways we can help the issue, we will be improving the lives of the marine animals, and their futures. Saving the Oceans