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Science Centers: Gallegos Lighting Designs Lighting for California Science Center Expansion


Related: Seven Steps of Tech Design Success / Thorburn Associates and Gallegos Lighting announce a new strategic partnership

Guests to the new California Science Center wing, aptly named Ecosystems, will experience the critical role that lighting plays in support of the Owner’s goal of surrounding the guest with the sensations of each Ecosystem environment, eliciting an appreciation for different environments on Earth and how humans interact with them. The expansion officially opened to the public on March 25.

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, 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 Gallegos Lighting managing principal Patrick Gallegos.

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 a 188, 000 gallon living kelp forest among its environments.

The science center is already the most visited museum in Southern California with 1.4 million visitors a year and is expected to grow even larger with the new expansion.

About Gallegos Lighting

Gallegos Lighting was established in 1983 to supply the highest quality lighting design services to the architectural, specialty design, and exhibit industries. Gallegos Lighting’s goal is to combine architectural and theatrical design to create environments that speak to the needs of human beings who are experiencing a space. Recently Gallegos Lighting formed a strategic partnership with Thorburn Associates Inc., headquartered in Castro Valley, CA with regional offices in Los Angeles and Raleigh-Durham, NC. In more than 25 years in business, Gallegos Lighting has received more than 60 awards from the Illuminating Engineering Society, American Institute of Architects, Themed Entertainment Association and the International Association of Lighting Designers. Visit

About Thorburn Associates

Thorburn Associates Inc. is a professional service firm providing acoustical consulting and technology system engineering and design for the commercial, corporate, leisure, residential and retail industries, and for houses of worship. Thorburn Associates works in both new construction and renovations, as an independent consulting firm offering unbiased designs to improve communication and fully realize the functionality of all projects. Headquartered in Castro Valley, California, with regional offices in Los Angeles and Raleigh-Durham, NC, Thorburn Associates has been recognized as one of the leading firms in the acoustical and audiovisual system design industry. In the course of 17 years in business, the company’s projects have received multiple awards, from the International Communications Industry Association (ICIA-InfoComm), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Thorburn Associates Principal Steve Thorburn is sitting president of TEA. Visit 

About EHDD

EHDD is a full service architecture firm located in San Francisco. They are a leading firm in libraries and educational facilities, buildings for science, museums, aquariums and zoos. With more than 50 years of experience, EHDD has received more than 200 design awards and honors as well as professional recognition of strengths in sustainable design. Visit

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