This concept design for a new purpose-built marine science museum and aquarium aims to champion community conservation in one of the first Scottish Marine Protected Areas. The site receives up to 400,000 visitors a year—many of whom yearn for its rugged landscape for walking and sight-seeing. The tiered, two-story building will create a striking focal point in the Bay by conforming to the landscape, ascending from the ground floor up to the central timber-clad pavilion and to a rooftop viewing deck that is complemented by an outdoor play area.
A key function of the project will be to generate revenue for the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) to not only provide for educational, campaign and research activities but manage the preserved habitat and wildlife. A large open and sensitively landscaped plaza in front of the building will connect the building to the beach. The lower portion of the building sits within a shallow, grass-covered hill and will contain the reception, gift shop, research areas and wet laboratory. Full-height glazing will allow visitors to see into the laboratory and research areas. Ample storage will be tucked beneath the hill to allow for kayaks and maritime equipment to be stored securely.
Above the hill, a single-story, timber-clad pavilion will contain a permanent exhibition space about the surrounding natural environment, café and flexible activity areas. Walkers and visitors will be able to ascend the hill and follow steps up and onto the pavilion’s balcony and then up to a rooftop viewing platform and play area. A central core with a lift and stair will connect visitors arriving at the main reception directly to the café, exhibition and roof levels.