Skip to main content

Museum Design: Visual Acuity scoops double awards for California Academy of Sciences project


Brighton-based  technology consultants Visual Acuity have received two highly esteemed industry awards for their role in developing the technology for specific areas of the California Academy of Sciences. 
The company has received recognition by ARCHI-TECH in the ‘Best project over one million USD’ category and the overall Grand Prize and PRO AV ‘Best Museum’ project category.
"This project saw six years of meticulous planning, design, consulting and ‘green’ engineering and to have our role recognised by leading US trade awards for the California Academy of Sciences is an outstanding achievement.  We’re also delighted that many of our key partners and friends were also able to join us in celebrating the award wins at InfoComm, " says Blair Parkin, Managing Director at Visual Acuity.   
"These partners included the California Academy of Sciences as well as Thinc Design (creative and exhibit designers of the Aquarium, Rainforest and Water Planet exhibits), BBI (AV systems integrators for part of the project) and other integrators such as Global Immersion and Sky-Skan.  Other technology companies involved included IT and communications consultancy, Teecom Design Group, Science Communications Consultants, Bay Area Cinema Projects, Meyer Sound Labs and technology partners Dolby Laboratories, Philips ColorKinetics, Think Logical, projectiondesign and many more."
Both awards were presented to Visual Acuity’s Director of Technology, Frank Sheehan at InfoComm 09 trade show in Orlando Florida in June and focus on the technology aspects of the project with specific reference to the integration of technology with architecture and the use of next generation technology and media.    The specific areas of recognition included the Morrison Planetarium, Visualization Studio, Hohfeld Hall, Hearst Forum 3D DCI cinema, fiber media network infrastructure and projection and server infrastructure in the Water Planet exhibit. 
Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, California Academy of Sciences houses three public attractions – Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and the Kimball Natural History Museum – under a 2.5-acre undulating green roof.  It’s also home to the most famous albino alligator in the world, called Claude. 
The new facility is one of the most environmentally friendly museums on the planet and is the largest building with an esteemed LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council. 
Visual Acuity acted as the major media and technology adviser to the project throughout.
"The work Visual Acuity and its extended team did for the California Academy of Sciences was spectacular, " said PRO AV editor Brad Grimes. "The judges loved the sheer variety of high-impact, meticulously-integrated AV installations. And the fact that the museum went LEED Platinum was the icing on the cake."
And the last word goes to Leah Garris, managing editor at ARCHI-TECH who says, "The ARCHI-TECH AV Awards program showcases the quality of the products and firms involved – such as Visual Acuity – in creating these award-winning audiovisual projects." 
About the California Academy of Sciences 

The new California Academy of Sciences is the greenest museum in the world. On October 7, 2008, the U.S. Green Building Council issued its formal rating for the new Academy, awarding the Renzo Piano-designed facility with its highest possible certification: LEED Platinum.  The building, which houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and world-class research and education programs under one living roof, stands as an embodiment of the Academy’s mission to explore, explain and protect the natural world. It is now the largest public Platinum-rated building in the world, and with a total score of 54 points, it is also the world’s most sustainable museum building. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based standard for evaluating high-performance, sustainable buildings.
Visual Acuity worked alongside the building’s architects, the Pritzker Prize-winning Renzo Piano Building Workshop of Genoa, Italy, to define a set of objectives on the application of digital and new media technology, content and show production, as well as time scales, budgets, and the management of relationships with technology suppliers.
The Academy is an international center for scientific education and research and is at the forefront of efforts to understand and protect the diversity of Earth’s living things. The Academy has a staff of over 50 professional educators and Ph.D.-level scientists, supported by more than 100 Research and Field Associates and over 300 Fellows. It conducts research in 11 scientific fields: anthropology, aquatic biology, botany, comparative genomics, entomology, geology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy and ornithology.  
About Visual Acuity

Visual Acuity is a leading consultancy, offering long-term, independent and unbiased strategic, consulting, design guidance and operational advice to clients in all areas of new-media, visualization & ICT technology all over the world.  The company is headquartered in Brighton, UK and has offices in Bergen, Norway.  It works closely with industry, academia, governments and non-profit organisations in the application of technology in projects ranging from museums and science centres to pharmaceutical research and development.

See also:
Museum Design: Rethinking Traditional Exhibit Design: Volume Inc.’s Approach at the California Academy of Sciences 
California Academy of Sciences Goes 3D with Dolby 3D Digital Cinema

More from this author

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update