John G. Shedd Aquarium

Chicago, Illinois

Re-imagining a pioneering cultural institution

In 1996, EHDD developed a 20-year master plan to address the anticipated growth of the venerated John G. Shedd Aquarium into the next century. The plan expanded the facility to accommodate its high visitation while respecting its scale, materials, and ornament.

EHDD collaborated with the aquarium and its internal design team with design, management, and construction documents of the Aquarium’s Go Overboard! retail store and two major exhibits; Amazon Rising and Wild Reef: Sharks at Shedd.

Of the exhibits, Caribbean Reef opened in 1999, restoring the rotunda to its original splendor and adding a multi-media display. In 2000, Amazon Rising reorganized two existing galleries to lead visitors through the seasonal ebb and flow of the Amazon River. Wild Reef: Sharks at Shedd tells the story of the coral reefs off the Philippine coast. Since opening in 2003, this exhibit–including a 450,000 gallon tank featuring pelagic sharks–has helped boost attendance at this Chicago institution.


John G. Shedd Aquarium


132,000 sf


1998 Design Award - International Interior Design Association (Go Overboard! Gift Store)
1999 Interior Architecture Award - AIA Chicago (Go Overboard! Gift Store)
2000 Interior Architecture Award - AIA Chicago (Caribbean Reef & Rotunda)
2001 Top Honors, Exhibit Award - American Association of Museums
2001 Exhibit of the year - American Zoo and Aquarium Association (Amazon Rising)
2001 Merit Award for Rehab Construction - Chicago Building Congress
2007 Top Honors Exhibit - American Zoo and Aquarium Association


Doug Snower, Peter Aaron


Interior Design