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Chiang Mai Aquarium

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— Chiang Mai, Thailand
Completed in 2008

We were approached with an intriguing proposition by the Chiang Mai Zoo: design and build an aquarium within an unused water reservoir, whilst keeping architectural consistency with the existing buildings within the zoo.

Inspiration for this project came from the Mekong River, the world's twelfth longest river and the seventh longest river in Asia. As one of the planet's great ecosystems with nearly 2,000 species of marine creatures, the Mekong River serves as a symbol of the diversity that the Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium replicates.

Covering 7,500 square meters, Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium is split over two levels and seven thematic zones, each of which showcase a distinct environment and carefully populated with an authentic cross-section of native species.

Containing two fully integrated freshwater and saltwater tanks, visitors experience the journey of the Mekong River from the Tibetan Plateau into the East Vietnam Sea through the world’s longest underwater tunnel, receiving an unprecedented underwater view of the 30,000 sea and aquatic creatures representing 250 species that call Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium home.

The roof structure of the main aquarium building was designed as a fusion between traditional and modern Thai architecture through in an architectural derivative of the traditional Thai style roofs found throughout Chiang Mai Zoo.

The Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium is the first fully integrated marine breeding centre in Southeast Asia and serves as an important learning centre for the study of marine life and biology throughout the Southeast Asian region.

Total building area

7,500 m2

Tunnel length

133 meters

Total volume of tanks

6,040 m3


12 months




  • Concept design
  • Architectural and engineering design
  • Specialist technical design
  • Exhibit design