The Blue Planet / 3XN

  • 22 Mar 2013
  • Cultural Featured Selected Works
© Adam Mõrk

Architects: 3XN
Location: Kastrup, Copenhagen,
Architect In Charge:
Area: 10,000 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Adam Mõrk

Consulting Engineers: Moe & Brødsgaard
Landscape: HJ Landskab
Exhibition: Kvorning design & kommunikation

© Adam Mõrk

The Blue Planet is Europe’s largest and most significant aquarium with an outstanding location on the shores of Øresund, only eight kilometres from the Copenhagen City Hall Square. Moreover, the aquarium in Taarnby Municipality is ideally located with motorways, Copenhagen Airport, the Øresund Bridge, Metro and international trains within few hundred meters.

© Adam Mõrk

The Blue Planet will be one of Denmark’s five most prominent tourist attractions. At the tourism conference “A New Way to Grow” 2012, the Blue Planet was chosen as Denmark’s best lighthouse project within experience economy, because of its potential for growth, influence on regional development, innovation, realization as well as its uniqueness and ‘reason to go’.

© Adam Mõrk

The History behind Denmark’s Aquarium

© Adam Mõrk

Denmark’s Aquarium was founded by civil engineer and contractor Knud Højgaard. It opened for the public in 1939 just four months before the break out of World War II and seven months before the occupation of Denmark. The consequence was closed borders and considerable problems in getting hold of exotic animals to the aquarium. However, through an impressive effort with Danish and home reared fish the aquarium was kept open and active. After the war, the aquarium was in a bad shape, and Knud Højgaard initiated extensive renovations. During the next decades the building went through several modernizations and enlargements.

© Adam Mõrk

For more than 73 years the original building in Charlottenlund was the setting for enjoyment and education for all ages. For the last years, however, the establishment was run down and a continuous demand for expansions and high end technologies was the order of the day.

© Adam Mõrk

Preparations for The Blue Planet

© Adam Mõrk

Already in the mid-90s, Jesper Horsted, curator of Denmark’s Aquarium, outlined the first ideas on how a totally new and modern aquarium should be designed. The old building needed a total renovation which would be costly without even providing guests with a significant better experience. A much needed enlargement was neither possible at the site nor economically feasible with regard to the overall improvement of the attraction of the aquarium.

© Adam Mõrk

What was needed was a new location and new framings to give coming generations of visitors new and outstanding adventures. Inspired by visits to the world’s most exciting aquariums and spiced up with ideas of his own, Jesper Horsted formulated his wishes for the design of a totally new Danish Aquarium. Principles which were later to become the fundament for the international competition of The Blue Planet.

© Adam Mõrk

Now, Denmark’s Aquarium is again at the international forefront with world class architecture, thousands of animals from all over the world and advanced presentation technologies.

Site Plan
* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "The Blue Planet / 3XN" 22 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Bruno de Moura Eufrásio

    One of the most beautiful I’ve seen in years.

  • tlp

    Why does it say its in Cheshire England when its in Denmark?

  • Ralph Kent

    Great – another arbitrary form. Architecture as object. We really need some more of this stuff. The internal displays look pretty dull for an aquarium, but obviously that’s always going to be secondary to making a really eye catching shape for the photographers to capture.

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  • Matthew Reece

    There’s a Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire England, I think they’ve got them a bit mixed up in the location bit

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  • Tombas

    I walked around the outside of this a while back, and it’s unfortunately not so nice in real life. Like many of 3XN’s projects, there’s not much attention paid to the human-scale experience, it’s all about observing interesting form, space, and patterning from afar, rather than making architecture that invites people to engage with it.