Exhibition and Aquarium

Bluehouse Helgoland

Experience marine research

Helgoland rises impressively from the North Sea as a red rock massif. However, unique is not only what lies above the sea surface. Underwater, a 36 square kilometre rock base extends: the Helgoland rock tidal flat – a food paradise for an enormous variety of aquatic life. After we have won the EU-wide competition, we bring the rock tidal flat into the Bluehouse Helgoland and show this special habitat from the perspective and with the enthusiasm of the marine researchers.

The North Sea in (climate) change

Every day the marine researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) slip into their rubber boots. Their research field, the North Sea, is located directly in front of their offices. The AWI thus continues an approximately two-hundred-year research history on the island. But the focus of research has changed: The North Sea is particularly affected by climate change. Cod are already getting too warm – they are moving to more northern waters. Plastic and other contaminants also cause problems for the organisms in the sea. The entire ecosystem reacts to these man-made changes. Showing them is the aim of the exhibition.

In the middle of the rocky tidal flats

The Bluehouse Helgoland stages the Helgoland rock base over two interconnected floors: In the basement it presents the fascinating underwater world of this nature reserve in a large aquarium, which otherwise remains hidden to the visitors of the island. At the top is the tidal zone of the tidal flat. As if they were standing in the tidal flat themselves, the visitors experience the change of ebb and flow in impressive projections all around – sometimes above, sometimes under water.

What does a guillemot eat? The interactive Explorer answers these questions here.

Research in the tidal flats

But it is not just a mere observation. At the ‘Explorers’ visitors can get to the core of the food webs. It’s no coincidence that the famous lumpheads and gannets nest on the steep cliffs: The sea offers them rich food here. But what happens if the cod disappears as a predator, plankton is not available at the right time to feed fish larvae, or lime shells become thin due to the acidification of the oceans? Scientists explain the connections.

If you walk your hand through the water, the plankton Noctiluca scintillans glows on this water media table. The illuminated plankton already fascinated early researchers on the island.
The samples of the long-term series Helgoland Reede since 1962 show that the North Sea warms up faster than other seas. This has consequences for the entire ecosystem.
How can we stop climate change? Many ideas and solutions already exist. The wave of these visions makes the globe float.
Transparent screens expand the large aquarium medially and provide information on the living creatures. A time travel through the North Sea is also possible.
In a wave of data pixels, the visitors dive out of the tidal flat into the future.
Countless measurement data from research produce an image like pixels. They also allow us to recognize - and shape - the future.


Conception and scenography

  • Concept positioning and thematic definition
  • Development of dramaturgy and main idea
  • Content development and exhibition conception
  • Media conception and storyboarding
  • Development of interactive exhibits

Design and planning

  • Exhibition design and planning in all project phases
  • Development of a Corporate Identity
  • Graphics and guidance systems
  • Exhibits and furniture

Project management and implementation

  • Project management
  • Production supervision and cost management

Project Information

Client: Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Execution period: since 08/2018

Exhibition area: 690 sqm

Contact person

Claudia Baulesch

Project Management and Head of Scenography