The Aquarium Station project is the latest in a long series of MBTA projects completed by Ellenzweig, dating back to the Alewife station and garage project completed in 1985. The Aquarium Station is perhaps the most complex of all of these projects, involving the complete renovation of the existing Aquarium Subway Station, new headhouses for the east and west entrances, and construction of a 200-foot long platform extension - while retaining a fragment of the existing 100-year old tunnel and track structure.
The project also included the design and construction of a 150-foot long section of the Central Artery depression project, which runs directly over the Aquarium Station, as the subway tunnel and the Artery tunnel intersect and share the same structure along this length of the two projects. The design involved extremely restrictive tolerances for earth retention systems, as the historic Granite Block buildings on State Street are only eight feet away from the excavation and were extremely sensitive to settlement. The project involved a host of utility relocations, careful waterproofing design, detailed analysis of water table fluctuations, and a very complex shoring and foundation design, including hold-down structures for the remnant of the existing track.
In designing the above-ground structures, sensitivity to the existing context was the driving design factor. The east entrance consists of two prismatic enclosures connected by a steel colonnade that frames views of the harbor and the neighboring Marriott Hotel. The attenuated forms and generous use of glass restore the visual continuity of Long Wharf and State Street, an important historic vista. Red brick walls, similar to those on neighboring buildings, anchor the two glass entry pavilions.
The new west entrance on State Street is similarly sympathetic to its surroundings. A granite colonnade, the main compositional element, recalls the mercantile buildings along nearby Granite Row. The escalator and stairs are housed in adjoining glass and metal pavilions. A third entrance and escalator are located within a new commercial building on State Street.