Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO Designs an Aquarium in Mazatlán, Mexico Around the Premise of a “Flooded Ruin”

Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO’s design for the aquarium in Mazatlán, Mexico, embodies a bold departure from conventional architectural norms, embracing the concept of a “flooded ruin” to create a structure that commands attention and sparks intrigue. Situated at the nexus of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, Mazatlán has undergone a renaissance, reclaiming its former glory as a cultural and tourist destination. At the heart of this revival stands the city’s new aquarium, a monumental edifice crafted entirely from rose-tinted concrete, reminiscent of a stranded set from the Dune universe. Despite initial skepticism, the building’s imposing presence has proven to be a fitting backdrop for the vibrant marine life within, serving as a testament to the rich biodiversity of the Sea of Cortez.

The aquarium’s design narrative, inspired by the notion of a submerged structure resurfacing with aquatic inhabitants, unfolds seamlessly throughout the visitor experience. From the ceremonial staircase leading to the roof to the exhibition rooms that transition effortlessly from indoor to outdoor spaces, every element contributes to an immersive journey into a pseudoarchaeological realm. Bilbao’s commitment to bridging the gap between architecture and environment is evident in the building’s robust materiality, designed to withstand the region’s harsh climate while fostering a harmonious relationship with its surroundings. Despite its unconventional form and material choices, the aquarium serves as a beacon of conservation, blending entertainment with education to promote the preservation of marine life for generations to come. As visitors marvel at the spectacle within its walls, the Gran Acuario de Mazatlán stands as a testament to Bilbao’s visionary approach to architecture and its potential to shape our perception of the world around us.


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