Aquarium of the Pacific unveils whale of a project

Designed by EHDD, the 18,000-sf, whale-shaped Pacific Visions will have gathering spots, galleries, and a theater with a large, curved screen.

March 24, 2016 |
Aquarium of the Pacific unveils whale of a project

Rendering courtesy EHDD/Aquarium of the Pacific. Click here to enlarge.

The Aquarium of the Pacific’s new Pacific Visions wing has a façade made of 800 light-diffusing glass panels that changes colors throughout the day. The panels, which total 18,000 sf, also act as a ventilated rain screen.

Best yet, the smooth contours make it so that when light hits it just right, the new aquarium wing looks like a whale. 

San Francisco architecture firm EHDD designed the addition to the Long Beach, Calif., aquarium. Pacific Visions, which will open in late 2018, will have a 300-seat theater with a 130-by-32-foot-tall screen, curved in a 180 degree arc. The theater will hold performances, panel discussions, community meetings, and educational seminars.

The wing will have a spacious front plaza that doubles as a community gathering space; a 6,000-sf changing exhibit gallery that has live animals and interactive displays; and an art gallery and orientation gallery.

The project cost $53 million and is the second and final phase of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Campus Master Plan, which was adopted in 2005. The new wing will bring the aquarium’s audience capacity to more than 2 million per year.

“Pacific Visions represents an unprecedented opportunity to help our growing audience examine the vital and changing relationship between humans and the World Ocean and choose paths to make that relationship sustainable,” Dr. Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president & CEO, said in a statement. “We want our visitors to leave Pacific Visions feeling more deeply engaged with the living ocean, knowledgeable about the challenges that face it and us, and empowered to make better decisions and share their new understanding with others.”

 

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