Science Plaza is the expansive area located outside the main entrance of the California Science Center. In this plaza, which showcases science through the medium of art, visitors begin to get a sense of the one-of-a-kind experiences waiting inside.
The Pavers start the experience as soon as visitors touch ground. A set of 74 embedded paving stones measuring 2 feet by 2 feet, the Pavers are etched with scientific riddles, inspirational quotes, number games, and delightful images, and lead visitors along a pathway of discovery as they make their way towards the Science Center entrance.
The California Gate is a sculpture standing nearly 13 feet tall that, at first glance, appears to be merely two abstract shapes of granite. On closer inspection, visitors see that the space between the two granite pieces is the outline of the state of California. The sculpture demonstrates the use of positive and negative space. Each granite piece is engraved with images that suggest what’s in the exhibition halls of the Science Center.
The Robert H. Lorsch Family Pavilion stands an impressive 88 feet high and is 100 feet in diameter. Inside a swirl of colored light from a skylight made of dichroic glass fills the Lorsch Pavilion and envelops visitors in a color spectrum ranging from soft yellow to deep purple, depending on the position of the sun.
- The Aerial is a hanging sculpture comprised of 1,578 spheres, each covered in gold leaf and palladium leaf, and varying in size from 3 inches to 7 inches. The spheres are attached to 342 cables suspended from the ceiling of the Lorsch Pavilion and hang over the DNA Bench.
- The DNA Bench is a sculpture representing a cross-section of a DNA strand. The bench, resembling a ring of rose petals from an aerial perspective, is 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet high and made of Galaxy Black, Red Multicolored and Kashmere granite. Thought-provoking quotes from the likes of Maya Angelou, Laotzu, Charles Darwin along with voices representing a diversity of disciplines are engraved in the bench along with delicate images of living things. The top of the bench is flat and invites visitors to sit and gaze upward at the Aerial hanging overhead.
The Aerial and DNA Bench combine to inspire reflections on life, from the microscopic level to the outer reaches of the universe.
The California Science Center blends interactive exhibits, a neighborhood science- and math-focused elementary school, a science education resource center for educators, parents and members of community-based organizations, state-of-the-art conference facilities, a new IMAX 3D theater, innovative public spaces highlighting science and art, enhanced dining areas and an expanded retail shop. The California Science Center represents a $130-million investment of private and public funds for construction and exhibits. Annual attendance is 1.5 million visitors, including more than 300,000 school children.
Larry Kirkland, Washington, D. C.
Major funding provided for the following areas:
The Erteszek Foundation
The Capital Group