Founded in 1967, the New England Aquarium in Boston set a precedent for many future aquariums. Its urban waterfront setting served as a tourist destination, while providing an educational resource to its community and region. The original building was designed by Cambridge Seven, providing site planning, architecture, exhibit design, and all interior design for the original New England Aquarium building.
In 1996, Zahner worked for Schwartz/Silver Architects to provide the building’s new western wing. The glass and steel addition includes the harbor seal exhibit on the public plaza, ticketing booth, changing exhibit galleries, gift shop, cafe, and lobby. Zahner provided custom stainless steel “fishscale” metal panels using custom wheel finish.
The new facility is a distinct addition to the old concrete building, celebrating its harbor-side location with stainless steel and glass additions. The shiny surfaces reference both the scales of sea creatures as well as moving water and its reflectivity.