Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way Shoreline Drive @Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA
By C. MacDonald
"I AM WHAT SURVIVES ME"
This simple statement by Psychoanalyst Erik Erickson explains what the new, awe-inspiring, $53 million Pacific Visions wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is really all about.
The awesome, eye-catching, unique, two-story, 29,000-square-foot, ocean blue structure, which opens to the public May 24th, is designed to show people how to create a glorious future by the decisions we make.
"The decisions we make today about how we produce, consume and conserve food, energy and water will be critical to ensure there are enough resources for all," said Dr. Jerry Schubel, Aquarium President & CEO, who has been leading the charge for aquarium innovation, along with city officials, commercial and private people, for more than 17 years. The planning for the new wing began over 6 years ago, with his talented team, board of directors, city officials, including Mayor Dr. Robert Garcia, business sponsors, like Honda & Molina Healthcare & others.
"Rather than building more exhibit space for animals, we decided to focus on the species that is changing the future of all others—Humans. This wing is meant to drive home the message that through creativity, innovation, and willingness to explore and accept new ideas, humans can indeed create a better planet right here on Earth."
Pacific Visions, expected to attract more than 200,000 additional annual visitors to the aquarium, has an incredibly innovative, state-of-the-art immersive theater that features a 130-foot wide, 32-foot high multi-projection screen, which curves in a 180-degrees to visually & audibly explain what we all can do to help make things better for ourselves and future generations.
The Honda Pacific Visions Theater even engages the senses through wind, scent, fog & seat vibration. Incredibly-beautiful media projections by Cortina Productions take the audience not only on land and sea but high above in the air and deep under the ocean to view various areas of our earth—its animals, people & challenges. It shows what we could grow in the ocean, how we can use solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and other energies for a sustainable future.
"Using imagination, innovation and creativity, we can be the heroes," said Dr. Schubel. "It's all about the decisions we make. We have many of the nation's best colleges, labs, and scientists right here in California. We should be the leader in creating a better tomorrow, today. We want to be a meeting center, on the leading edge of this effort by having scientists, students and others coming here to create ideas and help save the future ."
The Pacific Visions Project Team, included EHDD, a leading architectural, planning and urban design firm, who helped design the original aquarium in 1998. The General Contractor was Clark Construction Group. The Glass Panel Fašade Engineers were Burro Happold.