New York architects design nature reserve on China’s Yangtze River

A 40,000-sq-m research building and aquarium on an island at the mouth of China’s Yangtze River, close to Shanghai, has been designed by New York firm Ennead Architects.

Set on a 17.5ha nature reserve, it will be dedicated to preserving and boosting the populations of the endangered Chinese Sturgeon and Finless Porpoise.

Interior and exterior pools, mimicking natural habitats, will be built for breeding and raising the species in preparation for their release into the Yangtze when ready.

Ennead Architects said the design of the project is inspired by "undulating, fluid gestures, taking cues from the rippling surface of the river".

The development will contain a "vessel-like ark", with "curving wooden structural ribs around a central spine" which will link to the three wings of the building, and will be clad in a translucent cloak which will envelop the interior pools.

The facility will have a cross-laminated timber structural system, geothermal heating and cooling loops, and wetlands for local flora and waterborne plants.

Visitors will be able to observe conservation work and the aquarium from suspended walkways and viewing areas.

The project is due to be completed in 2021.

Images courtesy of Ennead Architects

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