• rendering courtesy of LMN

Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion

Seattle, WA

Business Type

Addition to existing aquarium


50,000 square feet

The Ocean Pavilion addition to the Seattle Aquarium consists of a large 350,000 gallon main exhibit along with several smaller exhibits. The building is integrated with the city’s Overlook Walk and showcases an exterior public viewing platform as part of the city’s larger Waterfront Seattle development. The Ocean Pavilion will be home to more than 3,500 sea creatures and is designed to model a future for highly sustainable and carbon neutral aquariums.



  • Pursuing LEED Gold

Special features

  • The Ocean Pavilion is targeting Living Building certification in critical performance areas, with a focus on planet-positive energy use.
  • The Pavilion will be 100% fossil fuel-free and has a goal of net-zero embodied carbon.
  • The Ocean Pavilion will have a 70% energy use reduction and 95% carbon emissions reduction compared to similar aquariums.
  • Innovative use of a central air heat pump system, a semi-closed water system, LED lighting, low carbon building materials, and high-performance glazing will reduce energy and water consumption and carbon footprint. In addition, the planted roof surfaces will reduce pollution from stormwater.
  • Water-to-water heat exchangers will recapture heat from tank water being discharged and use it to heat the incoming makeup seawater from Puget Sound. Using water from Puget Sound reduces the amount of potable water used for exhibits.
  • The energy recovery system uses air-source heat pumps that recover and move heat very efficiently from the chilled and heating hot water loops.

Media Coverage

ENR: Seattle’s Audacious Aquarium Throws Builders Swerves, Curves, Twists and Turns


BD+C: Seattle Aquarium’s new Ocean Pavilion emphasizes human connection to oceans