© Monterey Bay Aquarium/Rick Browne
SACRAMENTO, Calif. USA–(Marketwire) – The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) announced the Monterey Bay Aquarium, designed by EHDD Architecture (Chuck Davis, FAIA, Principal-in-charge) with Linda Rhodes (owner representative and Executive Project Manager), as the recipient of the 2011 Twenty-Five Year Award. This annual award recognizes buildings between twenty-five and fifty years old that have stood the test of time, remaining vital and beloved, while continuing in service of their original purpose. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is such a structure, and is a delight to architects and engineers, marine scientists, educators, and the casual visitor, both young and old. Departing from the typical black-box model, it is a light-filled ensemble of diverse spaces, unique among aquaria in its interweaving of indoors and out. Built half over land and half over the water, it embraces views of the Bay, whose ecosystem it celebrates.
In appearance, the Aquarium is the rare building that is frankly contemporary while gracefully complementing its historic context. In 1988, the American Institute of Architects Honor Awards Jury commented, “With great spirit, humility, nobility, and intelligence, this poetic waterside aquarium celebrates both the life in the sea and the life its coastal community has drawn from the sea. It is completely unpretentious and unselfconscious, drawing people to its sympathetic and respectful portrayal of sea life through the power of its Cannery Row imagery.”
The Aquarium is also a technical masterwork. In “Architecture: the Story of a Practice” (1992), Dana Cuff wrote, “Technically the aquarium is the most advanced of its kind. As conceived from the very beginning, it had virtually no precedents, either in terms of exhibitions, organization, or technical systems.” The building’s construction is equally sophisticated. Seawater is among the most corrosive substances in the world, and its use in this project led to many innovative construction solutions.
The Aquarium also represents an exemplary partnership of client and architect. The client, David Packard (of Hewlett Packard), was himself an engineer and was bold, insightful, and demanding; his wife Lucille contributed a keen eye for color and materials. Their two daughters, both marine biologists, were driving forces in the aquarium’s development; Julie Packard remains its executive director. She recently wrote, “Over the past twenty-five years, there has been a proliferation of aquariums throughout the world. Many of them look and feel like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, because they have been influenced by its design. Chuck Davis’s design changed the way people think about aquariums, which allowed the Monterey Bay Aquarium to change the way people think about the ocean.”
The AIA California Council congratulates EHDD Architecture, Linda Rhodes, and the Board, administration, and staff of the Monterey Bay Aquarium on this impressive accomplishment.
The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California. Founded in 1944, The AIACC’s mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the national AIA organization. For more information, visit www.aiacc.org.