Karlovac Aquarium and River Museum


45°29'7'' N
15°33'44'' E
Gornje Mekušje

The Karlovac Freshwater Aquarium is located by the river Korana. The project goal was to form a new focal point of the city, to validate its promenade and create a new tourist attraction.

The center of the aquarium building defines a square area. The aquarium and the square are intercepted by three pedestrian routes dividing the building in three parts: exhibition space, reading room with a cafe bar and office spaces. 

All three parts can be entered from the square, with the facade of each one respectively oriented towards it. The back sides are oriented towards the edges of the plot and covered with earthen materials, acting as a part of the park, playgrounds and walkways.

The exhibition displays the flow of a karst river. It starts on the square with a water surface and continues inside the building with a system of ramps that wind down, underground, into the basement level. Passed the headwaters, sounds of the flowing river quiet down and visitors plunge into caves that feature endemic species.

Further on, they arrive to an aquarium with larger specimens of rare species. Out of the cave, the river emerges from the underground back to the surface. As visitors walk into a tunnel that evokes immersion into the river, they can observe, from the sides and then from underneath, fish and aquatic plants living in warmer parts of the riverbed. 

After the tunnel a new series of aquariums with water lilies and rushes show marshy habitats. The exhibition ends with a system of cascading aquariums whose biotopes display waterfalls and the travertine barrier.

Finally, a stairway and an elevator bring visitors passing through the gift shop, back to the entrance hall. The space for analysis of the technological parameters of water, the scientific research center and the spaces for the acclimatization of the fish are located in the center of the layout.

Fact Sheet

Project name

Freshwater Aquarium and River Museum

project number



public, hospitality, landscape




2013 - 2015


2015 - 2016


Croatia, Karlovac, Gornje Mekušje

Site area

8327 m²


2915 m²


12068 m³


1939 m²


112 m




City of Karlovac

Aquarium technology project

Tehnoekspert - Franjo Jović


Jure Živković, Miljenko Bernfest

Audio-video installations

AVC - Miodrag Gladović

Lighting Consultant

Petar Pintar

Artificial rock consultant

Igor Lenard

Signage and environmental graphics design

Bilić_Müller Studio - Dora Bilić, Tina Müller

Exhibition layout design

Bilić_Müller Studio - Dora Bilić, Tina Müller


Boris Goreta


Petar Pintar; Aquatic-Design - Petra Bašić

Aquarium setup

Faculty of Teacher Education Zagreb - Marko Ćaleta; Faculty of science - Zoran Marčić

Fish protection project

Croatian Veterinary Institute - Dražen Oraić

Project Team

Saša Begović, Marko Dabrović, Tatjana Grozdanić Begović, Silvije Novak, Irena Mažer Hranuelli, Vibor Granić, Deša Ucović, Ivana Šajn, Nevena Kuzmanić, Romana Ilić

Health&Safety project

Ing. Labos - Nadan Kosanović

Fire safety

Ing. Labos - Nadan Kosanović

Landscape Design

Uređenje krajobraza - Luka Brnić, Ines Hrdalo

Building Physics

AKFZ studio - Mateo Biluš


Lift Modus - Rok Pietri

Mechanical Installations

Ured Tri T - Zlatko Jakoplić

Electrical Engineering

Projekting 1970 - Erol Čičić, Antonio Praničević

Plumbing and Drainage

Vodotehnika - Tomislav Fujs

Plumbing, drainage and aquarium technology

Vodotehnika - Nenad Šutevski

Structural Engineering

Palijan - Ivan Palijan, Siniša Lulić



Construction site

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