Penguin Encounter, Melbourne Aquarium, Australia

Client: Melbourne Underwater World

Architect: PTA

The Penguin Encounter exhibit replicates the seasons and light cycles of Antarctica, with simulated snowy conditions and a 14-degree Celsius chilled water state-of-the-art life support system. The exhibit was created in 2008 as part of a significant expansion to the aquarium, which was originally built a decade earlier.

The exhibit doubled the footprint of the aquarium and includes a temperature-controlled environment, a 100,000-litre pool and a light cycle that changes to replicate the short winter days and very long summer days of the Antarctic seasons. The exhibit includes five 95-centimetre-tall King Penguins and 17 of the 85-centimetre Gentoos.

NDYLIGHT worked extensively with Melbourne Underwater World staff to design and programme the time-variable lighting system which replicates the extreme daylight conditions encountered in the Antarctic, which was completed long before the advent of dimmable and colour variable LED technology.