California's Aquarium of the Pacific plans US$53m expansion

by Tom Anstey | 24 Mar 2016

Long Beach, California’s Aquarium of the Pacific has announced plans for a US$53m (€47.3m, £37.4m) expansion of its facility, adding a new wing and an immersive theatre by 2018.

Inspired by the shape of a blue whale, the new Pacific Visions wing – designed by San Francisco-based firm EHDD – will be made up of 800 glass panels, changing colour as the sun and clouds move through the day.

At the heart of the new wing will be an immersive 4D, 300-seat theatre with an HD projection screen and 130-foot (40m), 180-degree curved screen for shows simulating ocean and coastal environments. Additionally, the expansion will also host a new art gallery and add 6,000sq ft (557sq m) of space for new animal exhibits.

“It’s not often that we have the opportunity to expand upon a building that we’ve designed before,” said EHDD design principal Marc L’Italien. “The new building flows with the original building, but it’s also a counterpoint to it. We’re really excited about Pacific Visions because there is depth and mystery to the form and the glass skin. Depending on the time of day and where you’re viewing the building from, it will appear differently to everyone, forever changing, just like the oceans that inspired it.”

The development has been supported by a fundraising campaign which has so far raised US$35m (€31.2m, £24.7m) through pledged donations, aquarium revenue, a US$15m (€13.4m, £10.6m) matching grant from the city of Long Beach, and a US$5m (€4.5m, £3.5m) grant from the Molina family.

“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,” said aquarium CEO and president Jerry Schubel. “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.”

Aquarium  Aquarium of the Pacific  Long Beach  EHDD  architecture  design 
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Long Beach, California’s Aquarium of the Pacific has announced plans for a US$53m (€47.3m, £37.4m) expansion of its facility, adding a new wing and an immersive theatre by 2018. Inspired by the shape of a blue whale, the new Pacific Visions wing – designed by San Francisco-based firm EHDD – will be made up of 800 glass panels, changing colour as the sun and clouds move through the day. At
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The new Pacific Visions wing – designed by San Francisco-based firm EHDD – will be made up of 800 glass panels, changing colour as the sun and clouds move through the day
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