Pacific Visions Wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Long Beach, California
The Aquarium of the Pacific
Year Completed: 

Clark constructed the new 29,000-square-foot, two-story Pacific Visions wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Inside the wing, Clark constructed the spaces that will house the Aquarium’s state-of-the-art immersive theater, expanded special exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits. The Pacific Visions wing also provides a revitalized front plaza and increased space for installations, performances, and cultural events.

This new wing is the focal point of the aquarium, providing facilities that  integrate the arts and sciences while offering visitors innovative ways to understand our connections to Earth, the World Ocean, and contemporary scientific research.  The structure is built to Green Globe standards that focus on water and energy conservation, environmentally-friendly materials, local sourcing, and greenhouse gas minimization, making the building and infrastructure a contemporary example of sustainable design.

From the outside, the new Pacific Visions already tells a compelling story. To evoke the movement of ocean waves and how sunlight ripples through water, the building is encased in triple-laminated glass for visual depth, interest, and luminosity. Each glass panel, all 839 of them, had to be custom-made to accommodate all the curves and angles of the exterior form. Each layer of specially engineered glass serves a specific purpose to create the unique appearance of the structure. The bottom layer was designed to reflect the surrounding environment while the middle glass acts like a gradient cool blue filter. The outer layer is made of acid-etched, low-iron glass to diffuse light. The new wing’s façade also acts as a ventilated rain screen with the weather barrier enclosure inside the frame. The unique glazing treatment minimized the appearance of oints and concealed the aluminum carrier frame.

Step inside and the visitors are transported into an aquatic world through digital project walls, multi-channel video installations, interactive displays, spatial soundscapes, and sculptural reliefs.The story resumes in the art and orientation gallery. The 2,800-square-foot gallery was re-purposed and flows seamlessly into the 2,600-square-foot space. The team designed the space with a sloping floor to optimize views toward the central 12-foot-high LED video display wall. .The conversation about the oceans and our planet as a whole continues in the two-story, 300-seat Honda Pacific Visions Theater. For a truly immersive experience, the theater has a 32-foot tall, 180° arc and 130-foot long digital projection wall, supplemented with a 30-foot-diameter floor projection disc. Mist, wind, scent, and seat rumblers give visitors a multi-sensory adventure. The last stop is the 5,000-square-foot culmination gallery designed as a call to action to take part in the betterment of our planet through interactive games, displays, and animal exhibits.

EHDD is the project architect.

2019 LABJ CRE Gold Award, Public Category
2019 AGC of California Constructor Award for Project with a Construction Value Under $30M