The Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach, California, one of the nation’s largest and most-visited aquariums, celebrated its future Pacific Visions wing with a groundbreaking ceremony recently. The 29,000-square-foot, two-story sustainable structure is designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD. The first major expansion project ever undertaken by the nonprofit aquarium, Pacific Visions, slated to open in late 2018/early 2019, will be the new focal point of the institution and will engage the public with epic ocean stories and inspire them to create a better future for our planet. The main Aquarium building will remain operational throughout the construction phase.
Pacific Visions is designed as a biomorphic structure. Complementing the Aquarium’s existing building, Pacific Visions will have a façade made up of more than 800 non-reflective glass panels covering an area of 18,000 square feet. The Pacific Visions project includes the Honda Pacific Visions Theater, new Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Entrance and front pavilion, changing exhibit gallery with live animals, art gallery, and orientation gallery. The two-story, 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater will include a 32-foot-tall, 130-foot long, 180-degree arc digital projection wall and a 30-foot-diameter floor projection disc to immerse visitors in a virtual ocean environment. The theater will bring to life epic ocean stories, allowing audiences to discover new species, witness the processes and phenomena of Earth’s ecosystems, and grapple with the many challenges facing the natural world. Seats will be wired for interactivity, providing visitors opportunities to explore a range of possible alternative pathways to the future and to discover how our activities will determine the future. All stories will be developed by the Aquarium in partnership with leading scientists, filmmakers, and digital artists.
Pacific Visions will incorporate a range of technologies and media design developed by EMMY award-winning Cortina Productions. Media technology will create rich, dynamic, relevant multi-sensory, multi-dimensional experiences. Interactive technology will create a space where science, art, and nature can blend in a fluid, intuitive way for innovative learning. Digital exhibits using real-time data will enable the Aquarium to address breaking scientific discoveries and current and emerging environmental topics. When visitors leave the Aquarium, they will be able to remain connected and share the experience with friends and family through the Pacific Visions app.
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