Natural History Museum


´╗┐The expansion and renovation of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County involved reconceiving the institution's physical environment to better suit its evolving culture. Located within the historic Exposition Park, the museum was built over several decades and comprises a series of disparate additions to the original 1913 building.

The proposal corrects this problem of the museum's piecemeal architectural identity by clarifying the organization of its various wings, subsuming them in a larger building mass that provides a backdrop to the 1913 building. The new volume contains an improved and expanded gallery sequence, which surrounds a 140-foot square courtyard. Porches and terraces along the outer edges of the building provide views to the city, as well as breaks in the internal sequence of galleries.

´╗┐These breaks complement the museum's displays about nature with contrasting and surprising connections to the natural world outside. The institution's research functions and collections storage are redeployed in a glass tower, designed to present a visual symbol of the museum, and to make its research activities transparent to the public. The ground floor of this building is planned as an interactive gallery. In attending to the larger relationships between people and ecologies, the proposal also demonstrates sustainable principles throughout the site and building, from shading of parking, to the double-skinned tower, to the lush mist garden in its courtyard.

Year: 2002
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, CA

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