California Academy of Science

Project: California Academy of Science
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Application: Acrylic Window
Year Opened: 2008

The expansion at the California Academy of Sciences that opened up in late September 2008 features a number of exciting exhibits as well as one of the most complex acrylic windows in the world. RPT supplied R-Cast® acrylic for several of the Academy’s projects.

One of the most complicated of these involved creating a double-radius window to view the coral reefs. The horizontal view measures over 32 feet wide (just under 10m) and the vertical view measures nearly 16 feet high (about 4.7m). At a depth of 17 feet (slightly more than 5m), the window needed to be nearly 8 inches thick (almost 20cm). Because the window has both horizontal and vertical curvatures, it is one of the most unique acrylic windows worldwide.

RPT was also responsible for fabricating and installing a 25 foot long (7.6m) tunnel through the flooded Amazon forest exhibit. Surrounded by 100,000 gallons (almost 380,000 Liters) of freshwater, visitors can walk through the tunnel and look up to see the various types of marine life that live in rainforest habitats.

The last of the projects RPT completed for the Academy was the fabrication and installation of a 100,000 gallon (almost 380,000 liter) and a 212,000 gallon (more than 800,000 liter) R-Cast® acrylic tank. Filled with saltwater, the smaller California Coast tank recreates the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, exhibiting sharks, sea urchins, and jellyfish. The larger tank houses more than 3,000 tropical reef fish and the Philippine Coral Reef that, at 25 feet deep (7.6m), is the world’s deepest interior coral reef ecosystem.