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Thursday, Dec 7, 2023

Who’s Building L.A. (November 5): Aquarium of the Pacific (New Pacific Visions Wing) – LONG BEACH

■ Features 29,000-square-foot, two story sustainable structure
■ State-of-the-art immersive 300 seat theater
■ Revitalized front plaza
■ Increased space for installations,
performances, and cultural events

Long Beach’s gorgeous Aquarium of the Pacific continues to get better and better – with its new Pacific Visions Wing being the venue’s first major expansion.

Pacific Visions, a 29,000-square-foot, twostory sustainable structure, was designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD. Pacific Visions is designed as a biomorphic structure that suggests the form of a whale and evokes the size, depth, variability, luminosity, and biological diversity of the Pacific Ocean.

The wing will house a state-of-the-art immersive 300-seat theater, expanded special exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits. It will also provide a revitalized front plaza and increased space for installations, performances, and cultural events.

The theater includes a 32-foot-tall, 130-foot-long curvilinear projection screen with a 180-degree arc that literally surrounds the audience. The venue also will include a 30-foot disc positioned in front of the main screen that can double as a secondary projection surface or a stage for live performers.

Theater designs also call for 4-D-style features such as rumbling seats and other methods of adding tactile and olfactory stimulation to the viewing experience, such as blasts of mists, blowing air or aromas, according to the aquarium.

Besides the theater, the Pacific Vision’s wing has also been designed to include a 6,000-square-foot space for future exhibitions that may include live animals or digital media. An additional 2,800 square-foot art gallery is also included in the plans.

Pacific Visions will be a new focal point of the Aquarium to offer visitors innovative ways to understand our connections to Earth, the World Ocean, and contemporary scientific research. The project is slated to open in spring of 2019.

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