Designing the new Cairns Aquarium and Research Centre

by | May 28, 2014 | Advanced Aquarist | 0 comments

Designing the new Cairns Aquarium and Research Centre

Artist redendtion of the Cairns Aquarium planned for 63 Abbott Street.

The boon of grandiose public aquariums that have opened in recent years – including Denmark’s jaw-dropping Blue Planet Aquarium, the upcoming Batumi Aquarium, and Utah’s Living Planet Aquarium under construction – really puts a smile on our faces.

The 12,000 square meter (130,000 square feet) Cairns Aquarium and Research Centre will contain three stories of glorious aquatic exhibits with an emphasis on the Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s Daintree Rainforest (for anyone who thought the Cairns Aquarium was going to feature the Amazon Basin, sorry … really sorry).  Reef research will also be conducted at the facility.


The exterior of Cairns Aquarium is a modern tour de force.  The building will be clad in mammoth white slabs designed to evoke shifting tectonic plates.  Strategically placed blue-tinted windows, including a massive 18 x 11.5 meter (60 x 36 foot) front entrance window, will emanate water-esque light out into the streets serving as a glowing beacon for passer-bys to come explore the building.

Peddle Thorp Architects and Architects Ellick and Partners are joining forces to design the $48.5 million AUD aquarium, scheduled to open sometime in 2016.  As with most modern public buildings, the Cairns Aquarium will be a “green” by drawing half of its operational power from solar energy and using LEDs extensively throughout its facility.

2016 can’t come soon enough!


  • Leonard Ho

    I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

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