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Biota artists representation.jpg
Architect's image of Biota!
Location Silvertown Quays, Docklands, London
Coordinates 51°30′11″N 0°1′55.2″E / 51.50306°N 0.032000°E / 51.50306; 0.032000Coordinates: 51°30′11″N 0°1′55.2″E / 51.50306°N 0.032000°E / 51.50306; 0.032000
Floor space 14,500 square metres (156,000 sq ft)[1]
No. of species 550 (planned) [2]
Major exhibits Amazon, British Isles, Atlantic & Indo-Pacific biomes[1]

Biota! was a proposed aquarium in the Silvertown Quays redevelopment, on the site of Millennium Mills adjacent to the Royal Victoria Dock, part of the wider Thames Gateway regeneration project for East London.[3] The £80 million building by Terry Farrell & Partners architects[4] was given outline planning permission in March 2005 and was initially expected to be completed in 2008,[5] but the project was cancelled in 2009.


Biota! was to be operated by the Zoological Society of London and would have been the world's first aquarium entirely based on the principles of conservation. The design for the aquarium incorporated four biomes, each representing an entire ecosystem including trees, other plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds as well as fish.[1]

"The aquarium at Silvertown Quays will be an international visitor attraction worthy of Europe's world class city. The Zoological Society of London, which will operate the aquarium is well-known worldwide for its research and conservation efforts."

The planned completion date slipped as the Silvertown Quays development struggled to secure funding. In June 2008, Building magazine announced that the aquarium was "under review because of the credit crunch", citing the global financial crisis as the reason for the lack of progress on the project.[6] This placed the rest of the development in jeopardy because the planning obligations required the aquarium to be built before the rest of the scheme. In September 2009, the landowner London Development Agency withdrew from the agreement, effectively ending the project.[7][8]

Biota! would have formed one of the main public attractions of the 60-acre (24 ha), £1.5 billion development, along with Silvertown Venture Xtreme, an extreme sports and surf centre.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "London Mayor Ken Livingstone launches London’s Silvertown Quays and reveals plans for a world-class visitor attraction to an international audience at MIPIM 2005". London Development Agency. 5 March 2005. Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. 
  2. ^ "Biota! represents the creation of a new visitor experience not previously seen in the UK". KUD International LLD. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Silvertown Quays London". Silvertown Quays. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 11 March 2008. 
  4. ^ "Silvertown Aquarium, London". Terry Farrell and Partners. Archived from the original on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "£80m aquarium planned for London". BBC Online. 8 March 2005. 
  6. ^ "Farrell's east London aquarium". Building. 6 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "£1.5bn aquarium project sinks". Evening Standard. 28 September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Terry Farrell aquarium plans dead in the water". Building. 28 September 2009. 
  9. ^ "BACA reveals plans for extreme-sports complex in Newham". Architects Journal. 18 September 2007. 

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