Project Profile: California Science Center

Patrick Gallegos of Gallegos Lighting, now a Thorburn Associates Studio, unveiled his most recent project at the California Science Center on March 25. The museum’s new wing, called Ecosystems, surrounds guests with the sensations of each Ecosystem environment, eliciting an appreciation for different environments on Earth and how humans interact with them.

Nearly ten years in the making, this new permanent exhibit wing allows visitors to experience a blend of live animals and hands-on science experiments in 11 distinct environments. The 140,000 square foot expansion nearly doubles the exhibit space at the Science Center and includes two floors of administrative offices. Unique to science centers in the United States, this facility includes a 2,500 square foot desert zone with a programmed flash flood and an 188,000-gallon living kelp forest among its environments.

Gallegos Lighting worked from concept to completion designing all lighting for the interior architecture, the grand atrium, all dry and wet exhibits, and administrative offices. Key to the success of the project was the close collaboration between Gallegos Lighting, the Science Center creative and operational staff, and the project architect EHDD/ZGF, a joint venture.

“As in most museum-type spaces, lighting plays a key role in how exhibits are perceived. The lighting at the California Science Center allows the guests to experience each unique environment as a new destination,” explains Patrick Gallegos. Sensations of warmth, coolness, humidity and dryness all had to be conveyed and supported through exhibit lighting. The project also included 60,000 square feet of administrative office lighting.