Architecture - World heritage meets the modern age

Ozeaneum, Foundation German Oceanographic Museum

OZEANEUM on Stralsund's Harbour Island opened its doors to the public for the first time in July 2008. With more than half a million visitors a year, OZEANEUM has become an extremely popular and first-rate attraction. In May 2010, OZEANEUM received the European Museum of the Year Award 2010.

View of the OZEANEUM construction site: The building was constructed on a stretch of land on Stralsund's Harbour Island that had previously only been partially developed.

The steel vessel of OZEANEUM: The 360 steel plates seem wafer-thin when compared with the mighty walls of the rest of the building – yet they weigh a total of 800 metric tons. While the steel shell may have appeared to be a rather adventurous architectural experiment, its design in fact mimics a ship's hull. To construct a museum with such curves and free forms is a masterful feat of engineering – no two plates are the same, and each one is designed to fit into its own unique place.martime Erbe...

In September 2007, the five-metre-wide pane of acrylic glass for OZEANEUM's largest tank was installed. Engineers planned the installation process in painstaking detail using a model, as no fifty-square-metre glass pane will fit through a door.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's biggest display window: The mammoth 22-ton pane hovers above the building site. Panes of glass of this size are not available in Europe. The 30-centimetre-thick acrylic glass pane was manufactured by Reynolds Polymer in Colorado, USA. It was then transported to Stralsund by ship.

OZEANEUM's curved white steel facade pays homage to the area's maritime history and blends harmoniously into Stralsund's cityscape.

The OZEANEUM building consists of four amorphous sections, reminiscent of stones whose surface has been smoothened by water. The sections are connected by a glass foyer that's flooded with light.

The Concept
The construction of OZEANEUM created an exhibition space 8,700 square metres in size. The museum's main conceptional anchors include the Baltic Sea – "the sea at our doorstep" – as well as huge, full-scale model whales and an exhibition on the world's oceans. There is also an exhibition covering current issues in German marine research and one designed especially for children. The seawater tanks, some of which are truly enormous, invite visitors to take a journey that's unlike any other in Europe, through the underwater world of the Northern seas.

Visitors access the exhibitions via a self-supporting escalator which, at 34 metres, is as long as a blue whale. The installation of the escalator was a milestone in the construction process, as only once this had been completed could the glass needed for the over 1,000 square metres of foyer surface be put in. At the top of the escalator, visitors have an exceptional view of Strela Sound, Rügen and the Rügen bridge constructed in 2007.

What does it feel like to sink into the depths of the ocean in a submersible? The round, darkened room recreates the cramped feeling of being in a submersible, complete with displays that act as windows into the deep sea.

One of the main attractions are the Humboldt Penguins on the roof terrace of the museum. Visitors can watch the feathered swimmers through large windows, even as they glide underwater.

Ozeaneum, Stiftung Deutsches Meeresmuseum
Credits: Story

Ozeaneum, Stiftung Deutsches Meeresmuseum

Credits: All media
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