announces expansion plans
Tenn. (Sept. 25, 2002) - The Tennessee Aquarium today announced
plans to build a 60,000-square-foot, $30 million expansion that
takes visitors beneath the waves and out to the open ocean.
Tennessee Aquarium tells the river's story - following the journey
of a raindrop high in the Appalachian Forest to the Gulf of Mexico.
The new building is a natural extension of the story of the water's
journey from the mountains to the sea," said Charlie Arant,
Aquarium president, at a press conference held on the expansion
site just east of the Aquarium.
centerpiece of the new building is an expansion of the Aquarium's
popular Gulf of Mexico exhibit, explained Arant. This saltwater
exhibit is nearly eight times the size of the current Gulf exhibit,
and gives visitors a vast and endless view. Much like the open
ocean, the boundaries of the exhibit won't be discernable.
gazing into a watery world and gaping at 10-foot-long sharks,
fierce barracuda, schools of silvery jacks and a mosaic of colorful
reef fish," said Jackson Andrews, Aquarium director of husbandry
and operations. "Seen from various vantage points on several
levels, the Gulf tank will be surrounded by smaller galleries
that may feature unusual creatures like cuttlefish, squid and
sea floor of the new Gulf exhibit is unique among aquariums and
mimics the underwater Flower Garden at the National Marine Sanctuary
in the Gulf of Mexico, where coral formations unlike any others
in the world occur, said Andrews. A premiere diving destination,
the Flower Garden is 350 acres of massive coral reefs featuring
dense schools of tropical fish, sting rays, turtles and sharks.
visitors travel to the top of the new building, they'll be enveloped
by natural light streaming in through a wall of windows that showcases
the natural beauty of the Tennessee River and the mountains and
hills beyond," said Architect Peter Chermayeff of Chermayeff,
Sollogub & Poole, Inc. In addition to designing the expansion,
the Boston, Mass., firm was also the Aquarium's original architect.
Chattanooga's newest jewel will be an area that richly engages
the senses with many levels of discovery," said Chermayeff.
The 30-foot-high sunlit space is a place where visitors can get
up close and even hands-on with live animals."
was our visitors who helped us decide what form the expansion
would take," said Arant. "Through extensive surveying,
we discovered that visitors want to see saltwater exhibits that
are as compelling as our existing freshwater exhibits. They also
told us they want more animal encounters."
"But the new building is more than an expansion - bigger
isn't necessarily better," explains Arant. "The expansion
results from a desire to provide a world-class aquarium experience
for our visitors."
addition to the main galleries, the new building allows for strategic,
planned growth in the form of "shell" galleries - large
spaces that will allow new exhibits to be added in the future.
"This is important to the Aquarium's mission of remaining
fresh, new and world class -- and it gives us enormous flexibility
for our future." said Arant.
Aquarium expansion will be a key element of the 21st Century Waterfront
Plan, a 129-acre vision that evolved out of a broad-based civic
planning process that capitalizes on our greatest natural resource,
the Tennessee River.
great about Chattanooga goes far beyond the Aquarium. Think about
all that's happened here in the last decade," said Arant.
"Visitors come to Chattanooga because we're a family-friendly
destination where you can experience several attractions as well
as our natural beauty. The Aquarium's expansion is one piece of
the larger Riverfront Plan -- a plan that was created to improve
Expansion at a Glance:
Location: Approximately 75 feet to the east of the original
building (where the tent currently stands)
60,000 square feet and holds 650,000 gallons of water
As a "sister" to the original Aquarium building that
has become such a landmark for Chattanooga's riverfront renaissance,
the new building also has a translucent peaked roof. (The original
building is 130,000 square feet, the height of a 12-story building
and holds 400,000 gallons of water.)
$30 million - Funded by a $10 million Aquarium bond issue and
$20 million raised through combined efforts with the 21st Century
Waterfront fundraising campaign.
Chermayeff, Sollogub & Poole, Inc. - Boston, Mass. - The
three principle architects also designed the original Aquarium
opening: May 1, 2005
March Adams and Associates, Inc. - Chattanooga, Tenn. - Providing
engineering design, including life support systems, March Adams
also designed the IMAX 3D Theater.