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Aquarium of the Pacific, Pacific Visions Expansion

  • Location

    Long Beach, CA
  • Project Dates

    May 2013-2019
  • Construction Cost

    $53 million
  • Size

    29,000 SF
  • Image Courtesy of

  • Market

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  • Aquarium expansion will use the latest technology to promote ocean conservation

  • Project Overview

    As attendance at the Aquarium of the Pacific climbs steadily, the aquarium wished to promote ocean conservation in a way that shows how ordinary people can become involved. To do so, the Long Beach aquarium is undertook its largest expansion ever—a $53 million project completed the spring of 2019. The new Pacific Visions wing is a 29,000 SF, two-story structure that will feature a state-of-the-art theater. The structure is designed to resemble the shape of a blue whale and has 800 iridescent blue glass panels that take on different hues as the sun and clouds traverse through the sky each day. The exhibition consists of a dynamic, 300-person capacity, 4D theater experience with a high-definition projection system and 130-foot-long curved digital wall projection. The expansion also has 6,000 SF of new space for other exhibitions, space for new animal habitats, an art gallery, and 1,700 SF of additional retail space.

  • Solution

    As the MEPT and Security design partner, our team was tasked with designing the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, telecom and security of the aquarium expansion. We worked with the project’s architect, EHDD, to implement sustainable energy saving solutions that would keep building energy usage below base levels. The aquarium’s ownership is deeply attuned to issues of conservation, sustainability and the environment and so they requested that the expansion be designed in an energy efficient manner consistent with their values. This project will seek a Green Globes rating, which is an alternative to LEED certification. We also assisted in preparing documentation for the Southern California Edison Savings by Design program, an incentives initiative for efficiently designed buildings.

    Learn more about the story behind the Pacific Visions expansion, at the Aquarium of the Pacific's website.