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Business Case and Design Concepts

Read the Detailed Business Case for Project Shapeshifter: Redefining our National Aquarium. Further supporting documents are at the bottom of this page.

Design Concepts

EHDD are internationally renowned, specialist aquarium designers, located in San Francisco. As part of putting together the detailed business case, EHDD were needed at this early stage to provide a high level design concept that will help us to estimate not only capital expenditure, but also ongoing operating expenditure. The following images are design concepts from EHDD.

With respect to rising sea levels, the designs include strategies to minimise damage and protect the aquarium’s collection. Incorporating these design strategies means the aquarium can be built to survive rising sea levels and future storm surge events with minimal damage. 

The current 100-year flood level along Napier’s coast is 5.7 metres above sea level. Research suggests that sea levels will rise 0.6 metres in the next 50 years, bringing a 100-year flood event to 6.3 metres. The main floor of the new aquarium would be 7.3 metres above current sea level – 1 metre above the 100-year flood level adjusted for sea level rise.

To minimise damage, mechanical, electrical and telecommunication rooms and associated equipment would be located on the upper floor or the building’s roof to avoid flooding. The building will be designed to withstand high wind speeds during storms. In general, aquariums are very robust buildings due to the stress load requirements of the wet exhibits.

Design Concepts - Exhibits

The following are concepts for potential exhibits at the new facility, designed by EHDD Architects.

Additional supporting documents:

New Zealand Ocean Centre: Concept Evaluation

Aquarium and Ocean Centre of New Zealand

National Aquarium - Cultural Case

Visitor Analysis and Demand Study

Economic Impact Assessment

Visitor Projections Report

Existing Facilities Assessment Report


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