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St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

Prize(s) Honorable Mentions
Company Oculus Light Studio
Lead Designers Scott Hatton, Jane You, Likhitha Rangaswamy
Architecture Company PGAV Destinations
Photo Credits Sam Fentress
Completion Date December 2019
Project Location St. Louis, MO
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Entry Description
For the new St. Louis Aquarium located in a historic train station, guests travel from the “grand hall”, to river exhibits, to the ocean surface and into the depths. The lighting design brings this journey to life, transitioning from warm colors mimicking dappled sunlight over river exhibits, to the ocean tanks where bluer tones evoke the feel of being deep in the ocean.

The lighting makes the tanks feel natural and expansive, creating layered compositions in the tanks with vibrant rendering of the animals’ colors. Specific color temperatures ranging from 2700K-14000K were chosen for both the river and ocean exhibits based on extensive mockups, and aiming angles were carefully studied to prevent reflections in viewing windows. To enhance the guest experience, circulation paths are kept dim to feature the glowing tanks. On the animal side, naturalistic day-night cycles with gradual transitions are automatically sequenced with programmed lighting controls, which also support back-end operations.

From the rivers to the oceans, the all-LED lighting scheme ushers the guests through an unforgettable experiential journey, immersing them in an environment evoking wonder and delight.