Shedd Aquarium Oceanarium

Chicago, Illinois

The world’s largest indoor marine mammal habitat and a landmark Chicago attraction, the Shedd Aquarium’s Oceanarium contains more than two million gallons of water. The project team filled in two acres of Lake Michigan to make room for the 170,000-square-foot, four-level structure. A faithful re-creation of a Pacific Northwest coastal habitat, the pools are irregularly shaped with natural curves, creating a complete lack of repetition and symmetry. In addition to homes for beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins and sea otters, the project includes a 276-seat auditorium, a library, 3,600-square-foot special exhibit gallery, gift shop and restaurants. The focal point of the structure is the 1,000-seat amphitheater facing a 20,000-square-foot glass curtain wall which makes the pool seem to merge with Lake Michigan, creating the sensation that visitors are seeing animals in their natural habitat. 

Partners
Owner: John G. Shedd Society
Architect: Lohan Associates