Newport Beach, California has a storied history with the Pacific Ocean, and a proposed museum wants to turn that experience into an edutainment attraction. The ExplorOcean, a radical update to Newport’s humble Harbor Nautical Museum, promises to be a fresh tourist magnet with what they dub a ‘4-D’ theater, interactive displays, and a pedestrian friendly pavilion. Architects LPA, Inc. include some great environmentally savvy features as well, like a green wall and enormous solar electric roof and overhang. The design is not all smooth sailing, though, as it will replace a creaky, yet beloved amusement park adjacent to Balboa Pavilion, and many citizens think it will erase the historic character of the marina.

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LPA Inc. likes to emphasize their green design credentials, and the ExplorOcean proposal has some fine design elements. What pops out is the huge vegetated wall wrapping the exterior of the building, adding vertical habitat and greenscape to the grounds while reducing cooling needs inside. About half the roof area is capped in a 12,000-square-foot solar electric array which stretches over the waterfront side to provide approximately 120kW.

The waterfront will be graced with a new ferris wheel and interactive maritime themed installations, along with a dock for a collection of unique or historical boats to port. Inside a large “4-D” movie theater will use a salt spray mister to add to the ambiance of the educational films. I guess we’ll still have to wait for smell-a-vison.

The planned $40 million museum will replace a 1930’s era boardwalk and its historic attractions, which are proposed to be moved to an adjacent site. Some worry that the feel of the waterfront will be lost, while others look forward to a more contemporary tourist attraction to liven up the adjacent storefronts. We, of course, approve its environmentally oriented design, which is projected to unfurl in 2015.

+ LPA Inc
+ ExplorOcean

Via The Architects Newspaper