The city of Norwalk, under the South Norwalk (SoNo) Revitalization Project, developed a program to preserve the historic architecture of South Norwalk and revitalize the neighborhood. Plans for the Maritime Aquarium were drawn as a major attraction that would bring people - and tourism dollars - into SoNo. The City of Norwalk, its Redevelopment Agency, the Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk, The Oceanic Society and the Norwalk Seaport Association, committed to developing this new maritime center, complete with an aquarium featuring live animals from Long Island Sound, an IMAX movie theater and a boat collection.
Newfield Construction Inc. provided the construction services for a 35,000 square foot addition and renovation project. The sleek, modern addition created a new entry for the current museum and spanned the length of two historic warehouse buildings, joining them together to expand the museum's exhibit and public areas. The renovation of a three-story industrial building into the museum's new environmental education center included housing state-of-the-art laboratories, exhibit areas, lecture rooms, gift shop and restaurant.
An extremely confined space, working between and around historic buildings and the Norwalk River proved challenging on this project. The new addition was placed in between and joined two historic buildings into one. The new edifice was highly contemporary in design, constructed of steel frame with masonry and glazed curtain wall. Structural timber frame, a glass rotunda and glass conservatory exhibit wings also added a dimension of complexity.