The Harrison Greenberg Foundation Roundhouse Aquarium Beautification Project is set to contemporize the iconic facility at the Manhattan Beach Pier
Written by Wendy Bowman
The eye-catching octagonal structure at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier, Roundhouse Aquarium has been the star of several movies—from the original Point Break to Starsky & Hutch. It’s also served as the site of free environmental and oceanographic programs for countless L.A. schoolchildren. Now the 96-year-old building is undergoing a much-needed transformation, with the Harrison Greenberg Foundation Beautification Project set to restore, redesign and modernize the popular attraction.
“It has been over 15 years since any renovations have taken place on the Roundhouse Facility, and like any structure near the ocean, there are repairs and updates needed on the equipment to keep it in working condition,” says Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers and the Harrison Greenberg Foundation, who is spearheading the renovation efforts in honor of his 19-year-old son Harrison, a South Bay resident who passed away in 2015. “The time is now to make it a state-of- the-art facility that the community will be proud of.”
While the exterior of the aquarium will remain the same, the Beautification Project aims to modernize the building’s 2,000-square-foot interior with state-of-the-art equipment, experimental learning stations, multimedia visuals, and new exhibits and experiences. Expect a new entrance on the east side of the building that leads to a kelp forest complete with multimedia panels displaying sights and sounds of the Pacific. A goldfish tank, an exhibit space and a children’s discovery nook will highlight an updated and enlarged mezzanine—all with ocean views at every turn.
Architecture firm Cambridge Seven Associates—best known for the New England, Tennessee and Baltimore National aquariums—will design the new environs for the Roundhouse Aquarium, which is owned and operated by the City of Manhattan Beach and Oceanographic Teaching Stations. Construction is expected to start early next year, with the new facility slated to open in June 2018. To help jumpstart the project, the Harrison Greenberg Foundation has committed $1.25 million to a $3.5 million capital campaign.
“The Beautification Project is all about polishing the diamond already out there at the end of the pier,” says Greenberg. “The new Roundhouse interiors will bring a state-of-the-art aquarium and teaching facility to Manhattan Beach and the surrounding communities; it will be a great source of pride to the community.”
PHOTOGRAPH: RENDERING COURTESY OF CAMBRIDGE SEVEN ASSOCIATES
AQUATIC ROUNDHOUSE AQUARIUM
Manhattan Beach Pier