Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers, Croatian Architecture Design, Building Photos

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

New Building in Gornje Mekušje, Croatia – design by 3LHD Architects

12 Apr 2017

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Location: Gornje Mekušje, Karlovac, Croatia

Design: 3LHD, Architects

Awards for Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers, Croatia

3LHDs’ project wins two A+Awards

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers
photograph : Miljenko Bernfest

The winners of the Architizers’ A+Awards have been announced. 3LHDs’ project of the Karlovac freshwater aquarium has won in the Architecture +Landscape category. It was awarded with both the A+Award from the jury and the A+ Popular Choice Award from the readers.

The A+Awards have been promoting and celebrating the best architecture and products for the past five years. Their mission is to nurture meaningful architecture in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life. Thanks to the popularity of the Architizer web page and the A+Awards program, the awarded projects are presented to a global audience of 400+ million users.

The jury selects five finalists and the winners of the A+Awards for every category. The finalists are also presented online where design enthusiasts from around the globe vote for their favorites and choose the winners of the A+Popular Choice Awards.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers
photo : Miljenko Bernfest

The Aquarium building is embedded in the natural environment of the Korana river and completely covered with earthen material. The design concept was inspired by the city’s historic center “Karlovac star” surrounded by “Šanci” – defensive earthen walls and mounds. A public square area is defined by the aquarium building surrounding it with the entrance to the exhibition, a reading room with a cafe bar and office spaces.

The aquarium exhibition displays the flora and fauna of Croatian rivers and their ecosystems, geological history, traditional culture and history. The display layout follows the flow of a karst river, tracing its entire flow from the “source” on the square, the system of ramps with aquariums, the caves, and a, tunnel all the way to a system of cascading aquariums whose biotopes display waterfalls and a travertine barrier.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium is co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund under the “Regional Competitiveness” 2007-2013 Operational Programme. The total value of the project is 36.691.939,28 Kuna’s, of which the grant from the European Regional Development Fund is 36,222,282.45 Kuna’s.

24 Nov 2016

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Location: Gornje Mekušje, Karlovac, Croatia

Design: 3LHD, Architects

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The Karlovac freshwater aquarium is located on a site of a planned campsite by the river Korana.

Photos below by Jure Zivkovic

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The building volume is partially dug into the ground and covered with earthen embankments from its outer edges. The design concept was inspired by the city’s historic center “Karlovac star” surrounded by “Šanci” – defensive earthen walls and mounds.

The goal was to form a new city focal point on the right side of Korana River, to validate the promenade and make a new tourist attraction. A public square area is defined by the aquarium building surrounding it.

The main pedestrian routes intercept it in three main directions: western towards the city center and the promenade, southern towards the neighbouring polyvalent area used for concerts and eastern towards the main road approach and the stadium.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The aquarium facilities are hidden around the square without disturbing the natural Korana valley.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

All three parts of the aquarium building can be entered from the square: the exhibition, the reading room with a cafe bar and the office spaces. Each part has only one façade – the one oriented towards the square. The facades oriented towards the plot edges are “invisible”, their back sides and roofs are covered with earthen material and act as part of the park, playgrounds and walkways.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Green roof gardens “hide” the building and preserve the natural landscape on the right Korana bank. All three parts of the building can function as separate facilities or all together as integral parts of the aquarium exhibition. The square is the starting point of the aquarium exhibition with a water surface that symbolizes the source of the karst river.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The aquarium exhibition displays the flora and fauna of Croatian rivers and their ecosystems, geological history, traditional culture and history of the four rivers of the Karlovac basin. The display layout follows the flow of a typical karst river – together with its flora, fauna and biodiversity. The exhibition starts outside, on the square. It continues inside the building with a system of ramps that wind like a river down into the basement level because specific plant and animal species require complete control of lighting conditions in order to survive.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The exhibition layout linearly shows the different river habitats from its source to mouth, tracing its entire flow. Aquariums are placed along, above and below the visitor paths. Along the pedestrian ramps the fish are first observed from above, as they are when walking along the river; and then from the sides – they can be seen below the water surface.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The visitors listen to the sounds of the flowing river, simultaneously going down the ramp system and following the river as it flows. After the headwaters (upper part of a river) the sounds quiet down, visitors plunge into caves that feature endemic species which are, in nature, often found in subterranean streams.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The space expands, lighting comes from the tanks, and visitors can take a break in the central area, lay down on cushions, listen to the sounds recorded in caves, and observe the exhibited endemic species. After the cave, the visitors arrive to an aquarium with larger specimens of rare species that have disappeared from their natural habitats in Croatia.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

The symbolic river emerges from the underground to the surface. The visitors can observe the fish and aquatic plants that live in warmer parts of the riverbed. The aquariums are seen from the side, and then from underneath as the visitors walk into a tunnel that evokes immersion into a river. After the tunnel, visitors pass through a series of aquariums with water lilies and rushes usually present downstream, in the marshy habitats of a river. The exhibition ends with a system of cascading aquariums whose biotopes display waterfalls and a travertine barrier.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Finally, a stairway and an elevator return the visitors to the entrance hall through the gift shop. A space for analysis of the technological parameters of water, a scientific research center and fish acclimatization spaces are located in the center of the layout.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Karlovac freshwater aquarium is a tourist attraction based on the bio-diversity of Karlovac rivers and lakes and the rich tradition of life on the rivers Kupa, Korana, Mrežnica and Dobra. It is co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund under the “Regional Competitiveness” 2007-20013 Operational Programme. The total value of the project is 36.691.939,28 Kuna’s, of which the grant from the European Regional Development Fund is 36,222,282.45 Kuna’s.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers Croatia – Building Information

Project name: Karlovac Freshwater Aquarium and River Museum
Program: public, leisure, sport
Status: completed
Project start date: 28.08.2013
Project end date: 04.2015
Construction start date: 08.2015
Construction end date: 08.2016

Address: Gornje Mekušje
City: Karlovac
Country: Croatia
Geolocation: 45°29’7” N, 15°33’44” E
Type: public procurement

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Site (m2): 8327
Size (m2): 2915
Volume (m3): 12068
Footprint (m2): 1939
Level (m): 112.3
Client: City of Karlovac
Budget: 4.800.000€

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Author: 3LHD – 3lhd architects

Project team: Saša Begović, Marko Dabrović, Tatjana Grozdanić Begović, Silvije Novak, Irena Mažer Hranuelli, Vibor Granić, Deša Ucović, Ivana Šajn, Nevena Kuzmanić, Romana Ilić

Structural engineering: Ivan Palijan, Siniša Lulić (Palijan d.o.o.)
Plumbing drainage and aquarium technology: Nenad Šutevski (Vodotehnika d.d.)
Plumbing and drainage: Tomislav Fujs (Vodotehnika d.d.)
Electrical engineering: Erol Čičić, Antonio Praničević (Projekting 1970)
Mechanical installations: Zlatko Jakoplić (Ured 3T d.o.o.)
Elevators: Rok Pietri (Lift Modus d.o.o.)
Building physics: Mateo Biluš (AKFZ studio d.o.o.)
Landscape design: Luka Brnić (Uređenje krajobraza d.o.o.), Ines Hrdalo
Fire safety, health & safety project: Nadan Kosanović (ING Labos)
3D: Boris Goreta
Signage and environmental graphics design: Bilić_Muller Studio (Dora Bilić, Tina Müller)

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Aquarium technology project: Franjo Jović (Tehnoekspert)
Fish protection project: Dražen Oraić (Hrvatski Veterinarski Institut)

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Permanent exhibition
Concept and design of the exhibition: 3LHD
Aquarium setup: Marko Ćaleta (Faculty of Teacher Education, Zagreb), Zoran Marčić (Faculty of Science, Zagreb)
Graphic design of the exhibition: Dora Bilić, Tina Mueller (Bilić_Müller Studio)
Educational wall illustration and design: Ana Rako and Bilić_Müller Studio
Artificial rock: Igor Lenard
Audio-video installations: Miodrag Gladović (AVC)
Aquascaping and aquarium lighting concept: Petra Bašić, Petar Pintar (Aquatic design)

Main contractor: AB Gradnja d.o.o, ENA d.o.o., KGH d.o.o.

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers in Croatia images / information from 3LHD Architects

3LHD : Architect Profile

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers Nominated for Mies van der Rohe 2017 Awards

Mies van der Rohe 2017 Award Nominations


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




Architecture in Croatia

Croatia Architecture Designs – chronological list

Croatian Architecture

Buildings by 3LHD Architects – Selection

Hotel Lone – proposal, Rovinj, Croatia
Hotel Lone Croatia
image from architect
Hotel Lone Croatia

Spaladium Centar, Poljud, Croatia
Spaladium Centar
picture : Domagoj Blazevic
Spaladium Centar

House K, Zagreb, Croatia
House K Zagreb
photo : Damir Fabijanic
House K Zagreb

Sport Hall, Bale, Istria, Croatia
Sport Hall Bale
image : Damir Fabijanic, Zagreb
Sport Hall Bale

Zamet Centre, Rijeka, Croatia
Zamet Centre
image : Domagoj Blazevic
Zamet Centre

Zagreb Dance Center, Croatia
Zagreb Dance Center
photo : Sandro Lendler
Zagreb Dance Center

Riva Split, Split, Croatia
Riva Split
photo : Domagoj Blazevic
Riva Split : Mies van der Rohe Award 2009 Nomination

Croatian sports building also by 3LHD architects




Croatian Architects

Website: Karlovac

Zagreb Office Tower

Slovenian Architecture

Website: Karlovac aquarium

Comments / photos for the Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers in Croatia page welcome

Karlovac freshwater aquarium and museum of rivers – page

Website: Croatia