spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning

spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning

ini design studio completes india’s first inland aquarium

 

Conceived to bridge the chasm between formal science education and the community, the Aquatic Gallery is India’s first inland aquarium and a fifth generation facility, catering to the vision of edutainment. Developed in Ahmedabad Science City by the Gujarat Council of Science City with architecture and interiors by INI Design Studio, its design is inspired by the intricate, harmonious forms of nature – the spiralling, mysterious galaxies, and intricately proportioned coastal shells. This concept unravels across spaces that seamlessly expand and evolve, capturing the essence of continuous growth and movement.

 

Stepping inside, a grand atrium symbolizes the heart of the gallery, ascending at the spiral’s core, drawing in natural light from clerestories. As visitors traverse the galleries, they engage in a choreographed narrative, intimately in tune with the building’s organic form. The exhibits themselves unfold in synchrony with the circular movement, creating a captivating, living canvas, each section curated to evoke environmental associations and foster a profound connection to water and life.

spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning
images by Vinay Panjwani

 

 

the aquatic galler invites immersive edutainment

 

Dedicated to inculcating a scientific temper in the community, the Gujarat Council of Science City, established by the Government of Gujarat, has developed the Aquatic Gallery. Embodying innovation and sustainability, the project sprawls across 200 acres, setting a new standard for immersive learning experiences within India’s scientific landscape.

 

Attracting more than 1 million visitors annually, the Gallery bridges the gap between formal science education and the community at large. Its design’s primary source of inspiration is the nautilus, a marine mollusc, which has a segmented and spiralled shell, formed by a series of interconnected chambers, arranged in a precise and geometrically progressive manner. A metaphor for the interconnectedness of science, the dynamic evolution of knowledge, and the continuous exploration of the universe, the circular, segmented and spiral organization of the viewing galleries allows seamless movement through spaces of increasing size and continuity.

spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning
inspiration is drawn from the nautilus, a marine mollusc belonging to a unique class of cephalopod molluscs

 

 

architecture and function inspired by forms of nature

 

A steel and glass canopy, resembling a cantilevered petal, amplifies the entrance’s appeal, while the 27.5 meter diameter central atrium, crowned with a steel deck slab, provides a multipurpose space from where the galleries emanate; its form rises at the centre of the spiral, reaching upward for light through clerestory windows. The exposed RCC exterior surfaces impart a dynamic visual quality, including shadow interplays on the facade, with openings resembling the gills of a fish. Visitors are treated to an engaging sensory experience, enhanced by well-integrated lighting, AV technology, projections, interactive features, and environmental graphics. Both form and detailing prioritize structural stability and resilience against seismic activities and other natural calamities.

 

The Aquatic Gallery showcases 71% of Earth’s surface at an average depth of 3.5 kilometers, featuring an underwater viewing walkway, multi-level viewing gallery, interpretation centre, and a monumental water-world map floor mural. The 72 exhibit tanks house 12,000 fishes of 180 species, native to various regions and categorized into zones. The life support systems (LSS) provide precise water parameters, including salinity, pH, & TDS levels, chemical oxygen, etc. Laboratories and quarantine areas facilitate regular check-up and testing. The exhibits are housed on the lower level, enabling most of the water loads to remain at ground level within a controlled environment.

spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning
an insulated envelop and high-performance low emissivity glazing system curtail energy consumption

 

 

The taller southern side self-shades portions of the building at all times, and service areas along the perimeter insulate the aquariums from direct heat, enhancing operational efficiency. The exterior utilizes exposed green concrete, fly ash bricks, metal, and glass, creating an insulated envelop. High-performance, low-e glazing system, and intelligent automation, curtails energy consumption, while solar rooftop panels harness renewable energy. The centralized Chilled Water Energy Efficient System saves 90 tons of cooling, while Integrated Building Management Systems (IBMS) compatibility is maintained through RS-485 equipped meters. Rainwater harvesting, wastewater reuse and efficient plumbing fixtures raise the sustainability quotient.

spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning
exposed RCC exterior surfaces with shadow interplays on the facade and openings resembling fish gills

aquatic-gallery-ahmedabad-ini-design-studio-designboom-5

spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning
the exterior utilizes exposed green concrete, fly ash bricks, metal and glass

aquatic gallery at science city ahmedabad 6
the glass along the public and support areas allows natural daylight into the building

spiraling like a nautilus, INI design studio's aquatic gallery in india fosters immersive learning
the project fulfils a social responsibility to promote education and environmental consciousness

 

 

aquatic gallery at science city ahmedabad 8
a monumental water world map floor mural in the atrium

aquatic gallery at science city ahmedabad 10
an oceanarium featuring a large flat single acrylic panel providing views into the marine habitats

 

 

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An immersive experience enhanced by well-integrated lighting, AV technology, projections, interactive features & environmental graphics
An immersive experience enhanced by well-integrated lighting, AV technology, projections, interactive features & environmental graphics
The Aquatic Gallery showcases 71% of Earth’s surface at an average depth of 3.5 km
The Aquatic Gallery showcases 71% of Earth’s surface at an average depth of 3.5 km
The circular, segmented, spiral organization of galleries allows visitors to engage in a choreographed narrative, linked to the building's organic form
The circular, segmented, spiral organization of galleries allows visitors to engage in a choreographed narrative, linked to the building's organic form

project info:

 

name: Aquatic Gallery at Science City Campus

location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

architect, interior designer, landscape designer: INI Design Studio
design team: Jayesh Hariyani, Adi Mistri, Rakhi Rupani, Saumil Mevada, Bhargav A Bhavsar, Viresha Hariyani, Parth Joshi, Nirav Shah

design consortium member: Kling Consult GmbH & Co.

MEPF engineer: INI Infrastructure & Engineering

life support system design: INI Infrastructure & Engineering

structural engineer: Ducon Consultant Pvt. Ltd.

AV/IT engineer: T2 Technology Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

irrigation and water body design: Integrated Flow tech Pvt Ltd

facade design: Facade Engineering Services

prime contractor: Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Pvt. Ltd.

marine contractor: Marinescape Limited

exhibition designer: Lemon Design Pvt. Ltd.

gross built area: 150,000 square feet

photography: Vinay Panjwani

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: ravail khan | designboom

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