Chicago’s Lake Michigan shore has been preserved for public parks and cultural institutions, one of which is the John G. Shedd Aquarium (Shedd). Dirk Lohan was commissioned to design an addition to the 1929 Beaux-Arts landmark that would house an exhibition of marine mammals.

The new 175,000-sf Oceanarium was sited behind the Shedd on a semi-circular landfill extending into the lake, making the addition difficult to see from land. Sited lower than the existing building, it preserves views of the Shedd from all sides while being a commanding presence itself from the lakeside.

Architect and Interior Designer: Lohan Associates

Civic Shedd Aquarium 9
Civic Shedd Aquarium 1


Award of Merit for Lighting Excellence – Chicago Lighting Institute

Building America Award – Associated General Contractors of America

Best Exhibit of the Year Award – American Association of Zoological Parks & Aquariums