The barrier between terrestrial and aquatic architecture is getting fuzzier every day. Houses that float on water are becoming widespread — would it be more accurate to call them “boats” or “houses?” It’s hard to say for sure — maybe a little bit of both. I love it when architecture blurs the borders between water and steel to create art pieces that pull in the best of both worlds.
A good example is the Beijing Water Cube from the Olympic Games, which was a pool house that featured beautiful bubbly patterns on the exterior. The sharp angles of the cube shape reminds the viewer that it’s a piece of architecture, but the crisp, blue exterior resembles the natural world.
The idea behind the structure is to celebrate the beauty and power of the world’s oceans. What’s so brilliant about the design is that its layout roughly resembles planet Earth. The continents are spaced out across the walls, and the various rooms within the cube contain water-filled basins that correspond to the real world. In the middle of the structure you’ll find spaces that represent tropical seas, while the upper-most and lower-most floors symbolize arctic waters. The light sources are submerged in water to give the whole facility a peaceful, blue glow. It creates the perfect platform for public gatherings, events, and riveting performances from keynote speakers.
The water basins serve a dual purpose. First off, they act as the main attraction for visitors, all while reminding them that the beauty of the ocean is something worth protecting. The pools of water also help control the temperature inside the facility (in much the same way that the ocean regulates Earth’s temperatures).
You wouldn’t want to build one of these in your living room, but what I love about this Water Cube is that it seamlessly incorporates water into the design of the building. You don’t have to think of aquariums as small, rectangular glass boxes that contain a few different fish. If you like, you could extend your aquarium design into the rest of your living space — either literally or figuratively. If you go the more literal route, then Okeanos Group could build an aquarium that twists through living spaces or acts as a wall between rooms. Alternatively, you could incorporate the aesthetic of ocean life into your home with blue-green walls, water-colored light fixtures that cast your living spaces in an aquatic hue, or pools and basins that compliment your aquarium. In short, your aquarium is only as limited as your imagination.