Tropical Reef Exhibit, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Tacoma, Washington

The aquarium unifies architecture, exhibitry, and site design to tell the story of marine life in the South Pacific through a transect of a typical tropical reef. Entering at a researchers' camp set in a lush tropical forest, the visitor arrives at a beach overlooking the inner lagoon with split-level viewing of colorful tropical fish. Descending through coral headlands and into a "blue hole", the route emerges on the outer face of the reef and to views of a myriad of sharks and reef fish. The 13,000sf facility maintains 250,000 gallons of seawater and is connected to the adjacent Northwest Waters Aquarium.
Project credits: John Swanson, Principal, Lead Designer while with Portico, Inc.; Fred Redmon, Project Manager, Architect