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Nature preserve on the Yangtze River will restore biodiversity to a polluted area

Education Facilities

Nature preserve on the Yangtze River will restore biodiversity to a polluted area

Ennead Architects, in partnership with Andropogon Landscape Architects, is designing the project.

By David Malone, Associate Editor | March 8, 2019
Exterior aerial view of Yangtze Sturgeon

All renderings courtesy Ennead Architects

Located on an island at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the Shanghai Yangtze River Estuary Chinese Sturgeon Nature Preserve will be a 427,000-sf facility comprising a dual-function aquarium and research facility. The project will help rescue critically endangered species and restore biodiversity to a habitat plagued by pollution.

The facility will include a series of interior and exterior pools for breeding and raising both Chinese sturgeon and finless porpoises. The pools will mimic the species’ natural migration into waters of varying size and salinity. There will also be dedicated facilities for research and to assist with reintegration to the animals’ natural habitat. The work being done will be visible to visitors through an immersive aquarium and exhibit experience.


interior aquarium space


The facility’s design will feature undulating forms inspired by the rippling surface of the adjacent river and the landscape of the Upper Yangtze. Curving wooden structural ribs surround a central spine that joins the building’s three wings. A lightweight enclosure system is clad in translucent PTFE to allow natural daylight into the interior.


Aerial view of Yangtze Sturgeon facility


Other sustainable design strategies include a cross-laminated timber structural system, geothermal heating and cooling loops, and constructed wetlands of local flora and waterborne plants for rapid carbon sequestration and a process of biofiltration for aquarium water.


See Also: Seoul’s Robot Science Museum will be built by robots


Suspended walkways and viewing areas will cross the campus and allow visitors to immerse themselves in the landscape design that reconstructs the shoreline system and the variety of ecoregions throughout the Yangtze River basin.


Interior exterior aquarium area


Interior aquarium space designed by Ennead Architects


Interior research space


Exterior Yangtze aquarium view


Landscape site planClick for larger image.


Aquarium cross sectionClick for larger image.

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