“Waterfronts have been historically separated from the vibrant life of urban centers,” says LMN Architects partner Mark Reddington, which is why his firm wants to unify the Seattle waterfront with a new addition. The local firm has released new renderings of its 50,000-square-foot Ocean Pavilion at the Seattle Aquarium, which is meant to start construction later this year.

LMN designed the new pavilion to complement the existing 1977 structures by Bassetti/Norton/Metler/Rekevics as part of a sprawling 9 acre master plan by the City of Seattle to create a public Waterfront Park Promenade in the coming years. The scheme will connect Pike Place Market and the aquarium with the city’s historic piers and Pioneer Square neighborhood as a way to promote better movement across Seattle’s waterfront.

The new renderings show LMN’s three-story, wood-clad building situated to the east of the original aquarium buildings at Pier 59 and 60. Its rounded, three tiers (two levels plus 16,000 feet of roof garden) anchor a network of public space that will include an interconnected plaza, promenade, and elevated walkway (which will replace an existing roadway) to Pike Place Market.

Along with providing much-needed inclusive public space, the architects knew that any addition to today’s waterfront would have to address sustainability related to climate change.“At a time when the world is struggling with massive environmental challenges, and when Seattle is transforming its central waterfront to be a public place integrated with the ecology of the ocean,” Reddington tells RECORD, “this project capitalizes on that convergence to elevate the public experience, understanding, and support for the critical health of the world’s ocean.”

Inside the addition, a 325,000-gallon immersive exhibit called Coral Canyon is designed to recirculate water from Elliott Bay using a denitrification system. “Sustainability is one of the core institutional values of the Seattle Aquarium,” reiterates Osama Quotah, LMN partner. According to Quotah, the building is targeting a net carbon zero rating and will be 100% fossil fuel free for building operations. Additionally, the team chose to minimize plastics, vinyl, biocides and red-list materials throughout, he says.

Also imperative to the building’s design was its relationship to the Native Lands it would occupy, for the Pacific Northwest, and Washington in particular, has a strong connection to its indigenous peoples. For this reason, the process was bolstered by insights provided by local tribes during workshopping sessions with Native youth. “It was important that the project acknowledge its place on Coast Salish lands and waters, and the vital role of Indigenous knowledge in our future ocean,” says Quotah. A group of tribal consultants were hired to “foster connections” with local indigenous groups, to develop “an interpretive Indigenous planting palette,” and to provide an overall “cultural lens,” Quotah explains.

Above all, this interconnectedness—bridging land with sea, public spaces, and different cultures—remains the ethos for LMN’s upcoming project. Construction on the Ocean Pavilion structure is meant to commence in the fall and is expected to be completed in 2024.