LONG BEACH, CA – The Aquarium of the Pacific, one of the nation’s largest and most-visited aquariums, today unveiled the design of its new Pacific Visions wing, a 29,000-square-foot, two-story sustainable structure 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, 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.
“Institutions like the Aquarium of the Pacific serve a vital role in helping us understand—and better care for—the world around us,” stated U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal, who serves California’s 47th district. “In just a short time, the Aquarium of the Pacific has redefined the modern aquarium. It has become a leading force in educating the next generation about the importance of the ocean and scientific research, fostering a community of students, families, friends, and scientific experts who learn together. I look forward to seeing how the new Pacific Visions wing will broaden that community and reinforce our collective responsibility to build a more sustainable future.”
Pacific Visions is designed as a biomorphic structure that evokes the Pacific Ocean. Complementing the Aquarium’s existing building, Pacific Visions has 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, 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. Each seat will be wired for interactivity, providing visitors opportunities to explore a range of possible trajectories for our planet and underscoring how human action can lead to a more sustainable future. All stories will be developed by the Aquarium in partnership with leading scientists, filmmakers, and digital artists.
Pacific Visions is supported by the City of Long Beach with a $15 million matching grant, a $5 million matching grant from John and Michelle Molina and Mario and Therese Molina, and $5 million from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Private donations and commitments of $1 million or more have been given by James and Marilyn Simons, Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg, and two anonymous donors. The Aquarium has secured $40 million of the $53 million total cost for Pacific Visions.