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Smarty party: California Science Center debuts new venue

L.A.’s event industry turned out last night to tour the new Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation, part of downtown’s California Science Center. Noted architect Thom Mayne handled the overhaul of the 1914 former armory building near L.A.’s famed Coliseum, Sports Arena and USC campus. By day, the building houses a science center for local elementary school children and for science teachers.

Guests toured event spaces illuminated by globes from Airstar Space Lighting, munching hors d’oeuvre from Kensington Caterers including spicy shrimp and savory panini bites and watching Bruce Lee films and a space alien stilt-walker.

A Japanese koto player welcomes guests to the new Wallis Annenberg Building at the California Science Center (left).

The 185,000-square-foot building can host up to 1,000 guests and offers event spaces including the “Muses Room” (seated capacity 200, theater 300), which offers a view of the famous rose garden nearby; the “Big Lab” (seated 600, theater 700, standing 800); and “Exploration Grove,” featuring a bamboo garden. “The ‘Big Lab’ has an amazing surround sound system and built-in stage with rear-screen projection,” notes California Science Center vice president of event services Christina Sion.

Exhibit elements in the space include the “wind wall,” which allows guests to direct air currents toward the wall yielding a gorgeous shimmering effect, and “water works,” a programmable fountain with adjustable nozzles to create a water show; it comes equipped sailboats to race. A 30-foot platform can be used for physics demonstrations to illustrate Newtonian principles of falling objects; last night, the “lesson” included the flight of colorful paper airplanes.

Air currents make the silvery 'wind wall' shimmy in the 'Big Lab' (right).

Kensington is the in-house preferred caterer; Regal Rents handles rentals.

For more information, call 213/744-7493 or visit

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