Aquarium and Conservatory

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The first time a person looks upon the visual piece on the outside of the Belle Isle Aquarium, even if that person does not speak English, they can easily deduce what is hidden within the interesting building. The outside shows koi fish, shells (a sign of welcome), Roman God of the sea (Neptune) as the keystone on the arch, and a cartouche displaying the seal of the city of Detroit. This is all done in Terra Cotta, interestingly enough. With this being the entrance, upon entering the building any person would know that they would soon meet aquatic creatures. The Conservatory is very architecturally different from the Aquarium, which is slightly humorous considering the two buildings were once connected. This building has a large glass, steel structured (originally wooden), eight-sided dome with the capability to see plenty of plant life within the building from the outside. A lily pond is located on the north side of the building and perennial gardens on the west, adding to the relaxing and peaceful feeling of the two buildings. Once you have entered the Aquarium, you feel as if you are under water. There is a barrel-vaulted, semi-coffered, ceiling faced with a lovely sea green glass tile that originally extended from the floor, but has since been covered with black tile up to about 8 feet on the walls. This interior was originally made to radiate the light from the skylights in the vault and dome; however, the skylights had to be painted over due to the large amount of light that was creating algae in the tanks (Boardman). The tanks were once set off with heavy cypress frames, originally resembling works of art in a museum, however in 1954 the Aquarium underwent a complete renovation, and those lovely frames were replace... ... middle of paper ... ...ildings and their inhabitants are a great way to teach children outside of the classroom and make some particularly boring lessons seem interesting and exciting. It is important not to lose the idea that these buildings and Belle Isle are something worth saving, for they have survived several rough times, and deserve to survive as many more. Works Cited Austin, Dan. "Historic Detroit." Belle Isle Aquarium -. Historic Detroit, n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2013 Baross, Jennifer. "DetroitArchitectureBook." Preface. Detroit Architecture. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. DetroitArchitectureBook. 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 03 Sept. 2013. Boardman, Jennifer. Belle Isle Aquarium. Brochure. Detroit: Author, 2012. Mayell, Hillary. "Shark Gives "Virgin Birth" in Detroit." National Geographic (2002): n. pag. National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 26 Sept. 2002. Web. 03 Sept. 2013.

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