When Honda invited us down to Long Beach with the promise of an experience representing the intersection of architecture, science, and technology, even the notoriously slow traffic of Los Angeles couldn’t keep us from checking out the newest addition to the Aquarium of the Pacific, Pacific Visions.
Conceived as a state-of-the-art expansion of the original aquarium, the new 29,000-square-foot, two-story wing is an architectural medium for storytelling, presenting the global challenges and proposing solutions in reference to our planet’s most pressing environmental issues. Designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD, the exterior’s enormous flowing biomorphic mass was created in sum with 800-plus panels of acid-etched glass, each thoughtfully dulled to reduce excessive glare, yet still reflective enough to produce a subtle blue-tinted luminosity across its sinuous length.
Visitors eventually find their way into the Honda Pacific Visions Theater, where a trio of 4K-resolution, 20,000-lumen laser projectors cover the expanse of a 133 feet long and 32 feet high screen complemented by a fourth projection directed at the 30-foot diameter floor projection disc. It all adds up to an image with 9K resolution. And if that level of visual immersion isn’t enough, the theater is also equipped with fans and a fog and scent system, producing yet another layer of immersion to communicate the physicality missing from nearly all theater experiences.
Pacific Visions is unlike any other aquarium expansion project. We are taking a unique, unconventional approach in creating a space where the focus is on the one species that is affecting all others on Earth: humans. Pacific Visions is a place where scientists, policymakers, and the public can come together to explore solutions to create a better future for all.
– Dr. Jerry R. Schubel, Aquarium of the Pacific president & CEO
The new wing of the Aquarium of the Pacific is now open, with Pacific Visions’ array of interactive exhibitions, the state-of-the-art immersive Honda Pacific Visions Theater, and art gallery inviting visitors to explore the depths of the ocean and humanity’s impact upon it through the mediums of art, technology, and architecture.
Photos by Tom Bonner.