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New Roundhouse Aquarium and Scout House for Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach roundhouse aquarium scouts house

The Manhattan Beach City Council has approved designs that will help restore vitality to the California city’s infrastructure.

A final design has been approved for a new Roundhouse Aquarium while initial designs have been approved for the Scout House. Both projects are public-private partnerships and both have inspired passion within the South Bay community.

The Harrison Greenberg Foundation Roundhouse Aquarium Beautification Project will modernize the iconic facility at the end city’s pier while remaining true to its original 1917 design.  The aquarium is named after the 19-year-old son of Skechers’ President Michael Greenberg.  Harrison died while on a trip to Thailand in 2015.

Cambridge Seven architect Peter Sollogub is behind the plans for the redesigned 2,000 sq. ft. facility.  There will be a new eastern-facing entrance.  Once inside, visitors will move along a widening walkway.  On the left they can explore a rocky reef tank, a sandy bottom tank and a children’s touch tank.  The shark tank will be located on the right hand side. The Roundhouse’s distinct arched windows will be retained on the west-facing side, so the Pacific is always visible.

An updated and enlarged mezzanine is set to include a goldfish tank, an exhibit space, and a discovery nook for small children.

“I think when all is done here, it’s going to be an experience… It’s really going to be a Manhattan Beach story,” says Peter Sollogub. “It’s really that combination of love and heart that has created this design and standard of excellence this project will exemplify.”

Construction is expected to start early next year with the new facility opening in June 2018.

Michael Greenberg donated $1.25 million to start the project.  He said a total of $2.5 million of the overall $3.5 million has already been raised to pay for the project. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone involved,” Greenberg said. “I really do.”

The Scout House is also known as the Manhattan Beach Senior & Scout Community Center. It is based on Valley Drive, behind the Joslyn Center.  The House was built by the Boy Scouts and their supporters in 1952.   A non-profit, Friends of the Senior and Scout Community Center (FoS&SCC) was formed in order to raise funds to rebuild the deteriorating facility.

Bret Bernard, a board member for FoS&SCC explains that the facility is well-used by 1,500 scouts and nearly 10,000 seniors (who comprise 35 percent of the city’s population). “It’s a perfect partnership — seniors by day, and scouts by night,” says Bernard.

The initial design has been formulated by local architect Louie Tomaro.  It comprises a two story, 7,000 sq. ft. building with movable walls; the second story nestling up in the treetops.  An outdoor amphitheatre and barbecue area are also planned.

“The concept was really to make this feel like it’s a treehouse, almost,” says Tomaro.

Beth Gessner, the vice chair of the Friends of the Scout House board, said that the project is set to cost about $3.5 million. $1.3 million has already been raised.  Steve Napolitano of the Manhattan Beach Council has promised to add at least $250,000 to the pot.  “It’s a city building,” he says. “This is a capital project; $250,000 for 7,000 sq. ft. is nothing. It’s budget dust. We should be doing that.”

Image courtesy of the City of Manhattan Beach.

New Roundhouse Aquarium, Scout House designs approved for Manhattan Beach

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