Setting Sails and casting off! – Ozeaneum in Stralsund

Setting Sails and casting off! – Ozeaneum in Stralsund


In 2008, the Ozeaneum, designed by Behnisch architects, was opened as a new tourist attraction on the Northern harbor island of Stralsund..

In summer of 2008, the Ozeaneum, designed by Behnisch architects from Stuttgart, was opened as a new tourist attraction on the Northern harbor island of Stralsund. The new building, realized on the basis of a European-wide competition, expands the locations of the Deutsches Meeresmuseum (German maritime museum), founded in 1951, the main building of which is located inside the former Katherinenkirche (church of St Catherine) of Stralsund. Apart from many large fish tanks filled with inhabitants of the sea from all over the world, visitors of the Ozeaneum have the possibility to experience many topic-based exhibitions dealing with the Baltic Sea, the world’s oceans, research and usage of the seas as well as giants of the sea.

Museums as important advertising vehicles

Since Frank O. Gehry’s Guggenheim museum in Bilbao at the latest, museums are considered important advertising vehicles and marketing tools cities and regions use to stay competitive. The designers were aware of this and deliberately deployed an emblematic architectural language with demonstratively modern shapes. In a clear contrast with the already existing brick architecture of Stralsund’s old town, being appointed an UNESCO world’s cultural heritage in 2002, they developed an open building composed of free forms reminding of a collage, flooded by visitors and light from all sides like “rocks bathed by the ocean”. Viewed from the water, the bright façades consisting of curved steel sheets look like large swelled sails due to their freely projecting edges, building up as a catchy silhouette in front of the backdrop of Stralsund’s old town.

Sensitive Embedding

In order to adjust the dimensions of the new building to the surrounding buildings, the Ozeaneum is apportioned into four “pebble shaped” buildings of various sizes housing the sections exhibition, fish tanks of the Baltic Sea, fish tanks of the North Sea and Giants of the Sea. Towards the Northeast, the three listed old buildings have been integrated into the design, and a harbor walk has been installed. The museum can be accessed from there.

Once inside, the visitors first reach the open foyer with the adjacent functionalities museum shop, café and rest rooms. Via a 30 meters long, free hanging escalator they then cross the foyer and come past whale skeletons floating freely in mid-air and move up to the exhibitions areas on the upper floor. The large glass façade towards the water allows for a free view reaching as far as the island of Rügen. Once you have reached the top floor, you will plunge into the house’s underwater worlds, subdivided in topics and connected with each other via bridges. The Ozeaneum’s largest tank is a huge schooling fish tank with a curved picture screen, holding nearly 2.6 million liters of water. This is almost 5,000 bath tubs, after all! You can hardly get any more water than that.

Project details


Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany


Completion: 07/2008


GFA: 17,400 square meters


Deutsches Meeresmuseum Stralsund, Germany


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admin 15. May 2011 - 20:30