First Look at AltaSea, the Port of LA’s Huge Marine Research Center

Take a tour of the Gensler-designed, 35-acre campus

The Wharf Plaza, “where sea-going research vessels will dock,” an Education Pavilion, and a park will be part of the Waterfront Promenade at AltaSea. Courtesy of Gensler

The Port of Los Angeles’s gearing up for a major overhaul over at the Ports O’ Call that will have it looking a lot like San Francisco’s famed wharf, but that’s not the only enormous change coming to LA’s waterfront. It’s been a while since we heard from the massive marine research campus headed for City Dock No. 1, an out-of-use, 100-year-old pier. Today, we have a wealth of new renderings for the Gensler-designed research and education center, and information on just how soon we can expected to see the beginnings of this transformational project at the Port.

AltaSea’s executive director, Jenny Krusoe, says in a statement that the first step in a multi-phase build-out would break ground sometime this year, and include the construction of the areas known as the Wharf Plaza and the Education Pavilion, plus the renovation of 180,000 square feet of space in historic warehouses on the site that will be the future of the center’s Research and Business Hub. The latter would be devoted to “commercializ[ing] scientific breakthroughs and emerging technologies” as well as exploring “ocean-centered solutions” to global issues like food security and sustainability. This first phase is expected to be complete in 2017.

A subsequent phase would create out of a former warehouse the Science Hub, 60,000 square feet of lab space and classrooms for the Southern California Marine Institute, an alliance of 22 major regional universities, colleges, and foundations working on marine research and education, and also the hub’s main tenant. The Science Hub should be ready by 2020.

Another phase, expected to be open by 2023, would include the construction of the site’s interpretive center, which would host educational programs and exhibits aimed at getting kids fired up about science, math, and tech.

Here’s what it will look like:

The engagement center’s design is “inspired by the movement of the ocean to land.” It will house educational programming and exhibits.
The Science Hub.
The Viewing Structure, which is planned at a later stage in development of Altasea, is meant to mimic a lighthouse.

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