Preliminary Research Office

Preliminary Research Office

Los Angeles, CA


Qingdao Aquarium

Designers: Preliminary Research Office

Location: Qingdao, China

Program: Aquarium

Size: 42,000 m²

Note: Finalist, Competition Entry

Team: Yaohua Wang, Dingliang Yang, Shouquan Sun, Tianci Han, Shixiao Zhang, Yichen Wang, Yitao Wang


The Qingdao Aquarium is a key project highlighting the expansion plan of Qingdao city, which evinces the local government’s ambition to extent the urbanization to the further north. This new district, National Level Ocean Based Research and Design District, aims at a Silicon-Valley-like zone with research labs, innovation campuses and mixed-used communities. Embraced by the beautiful coastal landscape from both sides, the site of this aquarium is located between a hill and the sea shore. The building itself stretches the main body horizontally to create rich visual and spatial experience interacting with the natural landscape.


The main program of the aquarium is the Participatory Exhibition Hall that composed of two themes: the Natural Ocean Exhibition and the Marine Science and Technology Exhibition. For the Natural Ocean Exhibition, a large scale horizontal volume is ideal to hold it and provide fluid space with flexible visiting circulations. In the meantime, the horizontality of the exhibition hall creates contingent moments to have dialogues with the the surrounding landscapes through the transparent building interface. For the Marine Science and Technology Exhibition, various linear volumes are placed neck by neck on the upper level. They divide the upper level space into a series of small exhibition spaces for specific programs, and also work as the aquarium tanks to contain different species of marine organisms for both exhibition themes. These discrete linear volumes with sectional diversities are placed and morphed based on the demands of exhibiting functions, as well as the orientations towards the surrounding landscapes. These volumes interact with the Natural Ocean Exhibition hall and blur the separation between the upper level and the lower level, integrating them as one spatial complex. Meanwhile, these volumes creates spatial moments between two levels where people can find exhibitions been displayed. They also cut out in-between spaces, which are utilized for the arrangement of office and logistic use.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Qingdao, China