Photo by Richard Sexton
View Across Water
View Across Water
Photo by Richard Sexton
Photo by Richard Sexton

Photo by Richard Sexton
Entry  /  Ticketing
Entrance Lobby
Photo by Richard Sexton

Award of Merit in Architecture, AIA Louisiana,1998
Citation, AIA New Orleans, 2000
Honor Award,
AIA Alabama, 2000

Jury Comments AIA Alabama:
· Overall siting appears strong.
· Simple Plan with strong organizing elements.
· Creative re-use of radar station structure.
· Honest expression of materials.
· Building character seems appropriate for context.
· Skewing of exhibit grid helps add interest.

Project Profile:
The Marine Environmental Consortium (MESC) on Dauphin Island serves the universities and secondary schools throughout the State of Alabama with innovative research and educational programs in the marine sciences. The need to create a public scientific education attraction was identified. Sea Lab Architects, a Joint Venture, lead by E. Eean McNaughton Architects, created an Estuarium to meet this need.

This component of the MESC will provide an educational and interpretive experience for the general public. Exhibits and educational programs focus on the ecology of the Mobile Bay estuary and the Gulf of Mexico. The Estuarium provides a "window" for the general public to view the natural environment and research activities of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

The site is on an old military base on the southern edge of Mobile bay. The natural habitat of sand dunes, sea oats and tidal wet land was restored in the Phase I Site Development.

The design of the building has the vernacular quality of Gulf Coast seafood terminals, and provides a large, flexible interior volume for exhibits. The Estuarium is entered on wood walkways, encouraging the visitor to first experience this natural habitat of animals and waterfowl. Once in the building, the visitor experiences live animals and hands-on exhibits. The architectural concept incorporates an existing Radar Tower.

The Marine and Environmental Consortium, State of Alabama

Firm Responsibilities:
Joint Venture partner and Managing Partner in Sea Lab Architects the Prime A/E firm for the project.
Major Responsibility: Master Planning / Site Planning, Facility
Program, Building design through Design Development
Minor Responsibility: Contract Documents Phase, Bidding Phase, Construction Administration Phase

Phases / Cost / Completion:
Phase I Marsh Restoration, wood walkway over sand dunes, Interpretation of natural environment, viewing pavilion. $184,433. Completed in1993

Phase II Renovation and adaptive use of old Radar Tower for temporary public interpretation center and exhibits. $215,805. Completed 1994

Phase III Estuarium Building and Interpretive Exhibts.
$3,750,000 (including exhibits). Completed 1997