Aquarium of the Pacific envisions the future of ocean life with biomorphic expansion

by Andrew Manns | 23 May 2019

The long-anticipated Pacific Visions wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, is set to open to the public on 24 May.

Devised by Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD), the two-floor annex boasts a unique design that takes cues from the motion and biodiversity of the Pacific Ocean.

"In designing this new wing," the architects explained, "we embraced the concept of fluidity – both in the biomorphic façade and in how visitors flow through the spaces."

The firm also said Pacific Visions references "both microscopic and monumental sea creatures" and evokes "an ever-evolving dialogue between sea, sky, and city".

Other features of the US$53m (€47.6m, £41.9m) expansion – all of which help to further the aquarium's goal of celebrating Pacific Ocean ecosystems – include a multi-sensory theatre with fog machines and moving seats, a large media space with interactive displays, and a 2,300 sq ft (213.6 sq m) art gallery.

Multimedia storytelling studio Cortina Productions conceived the immersive facilities, while Edwards Technologies engineered and installed the audiovisual components of the theatre.

California-based glazing contractor, Woodbridge Glass was responsible for the building's 800-panel façade.

"Pacific Visions is about the future designed around the world ocean," said Joseph Cortina, founder of Cortina.

"We really wanted to use the media to tell that story, to take people out into the world, to feel the scale of it – and see the future."

Aquarium of the Pacific  Pacific Visions  EHDD  Cortina Productions 
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The long-anticipated Pacific Visions wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, is set to open to the public on 24 May. Devised by Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD), the two-floor annex boasts a unique design that takes cues from the motion and biodiversity of the Pacific Ocean. "In designing this new wing," the architects explained, "we embraced the concept of fluidity – both in the
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The new wing boasts immersive theatres and galleries by Cortina Productions. / Courtesy of Tom Bonner
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