Cod Aquarium, Ílhavo Maritime Museum
The Cod Aquarium is a building that connects two others to form a diverse built complex devoted to the themes of the sea and shing.
In this unusual tryptic structure, the Maritime Museum is the place of memory, the Aquarium is the marine life space and the ciemar, housed in a former converted school, is the research centre (not designed by arx) for maritime human activities. Whilst it connects these three units, the building is, at the same time, an autonomous urban facility that has its own relationship with its surroundings and de nes a public space. But it is also a building that defines a circuit, a spiralling circuit around the glass tank that connects the museum to the former school.
Set in a context of dispersed small houses, the volume occupies the interstices of that structure and establishes the public domain. But, in doing so, it breaks down into two horizontally stratified bodies to find the correct scale of transition. In its material duality, the white concrete body rises from the ground and configures and defines a public square; the aerial body clad in black metal scales configures the scale of the square, defining the new public urbanity in three dimensions.
At the heart of the building are the fish and the sea. The visitor follows a spiralling ramp on a journey that begins suspended above the water tank before then going down, progressively deeper, as if submerging into the cod’s natural habitat.