In 2005, The National Aquarium of Baltimore held a competition requesting a comprehensive plan for a nine-acre waterfront parcel to include a public park and the adaptive reuse of a collection of service buildings to accommodate an animal care center and administrative, laboratory, and educational facilities. This proposed design for the Center for Aquatic Life and Conservation emphasized the symbiotic relationship between the waterfront site and the program by integrating them into a unified machine for marine and ecological functions.
The design drew on Baltimore’s topographic organization as a guiding principle. The site grading offered a unique opportunity to integrate ecological function with water and pedestrian circulation, referencing the region’s series of watersheds that terrace down from the valleys to the harbor. In this prominent location, the design showcased responsible environmental stewardship by celebrating both the animal care program and working environmental technologies.