Australia’s whale-shaped underwater marine observatory will rise from the oceanAndrea Smith

The design of the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre has been unveiled, after the public was encouraged to vote for their favorite. The successful design, a whale-shaped building, will be partially submerged in the sea and located two hours south of Perth.

The center aims to be Australia’s largest natural marine observatory, and will be situated at the end of Busselton Jetty, 2km out at sea. The underwater discovery center will come complete with an underwater trail and dining, and should give visitors a thrilling view of life below the sea’s surface. Construction is expected to begin in 2021, with the center open by December 2022.

The interior of Australia Underwater Discovery Centre
The Australian Underwater Discovery Centre is whale-shaped © Baca Architects

There were two other designs in contention for the $30 million center, aside from the ultimately victorious Cetacean design, which reflects the shape of a whale raising its head over Geographe Bay. The Rock was inspired in shape and colour by Castle Rock in western Australia, and the Voyage mimics the silhouette and lines of a ship moored against the pier. Baca Architects are the lead architects on the project. 

The interior of Australia Underwater Discovery Centre
Visitors will be able to see beneath the water © Baca Architects

The interior of the center has openings that act as the eyes of the whale in order for visitors to see beneath the water. They will be guided through art galleries and exhibition spaces on the way to the large observatory floor. “This is as authentic as it gets, because people are in the tank and the fish are looking in,” says Busselton Jetty chairman, Barry House. “By adding underwater dining, underwater sculptures, marine art and other features, this project will enhance Busselton Jetty’s 155-year-old experience.”

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