The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC)—an association of three L.A. area museums—today announced a design competition for the renovation of its 12-acre campus in Hancock Park. The site includes La Brea Tar Pits, a research facility and the only Ice Age fossil site in the world to be excavated in a city, as well as the 1977 George C. Page Museum. The museum houses samples and paleontological collections found at the Tar Pits excavations and other active dig sites on the 12-acres managed by NHMLAC.
The project will include the development of a creative master plan to advance NHMLAC’s research and public engagement over the next 40 years through a renovation and complete site reimagining. After announcing the competition today, an “ideas incubator” session was held at the Tar Pits and nearby El Rey Theatre where more than 70 leading figures in the arts and sciences participated in discussions about what the future of the campus could look like.
Three architecture firms—Copenhagen-based Dorte Mandrup, New York–based Weiss Manfredi, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, also of New York—will develop conceptual designs, to be be released at the end of August. The winning firm, which will lead a multi-disciplinary team of its choice comprised of landscape architects, scientists, engineers, designers, and artists, will be announced in late 2019.
“The Tar Pits are known everywhere as a visual symbol of the cultural and long natural history of Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “The Board of Supervisors is proud to support this forward-thinking effort by the Natural History Museums to create a vibrant and engaging future for this exciting and important public resource.”
This newly announced competition follows a series of recent campus improvements, most notably, the addition of SelgasCano’s Serpentine Pavilion installation at the Tar Pits, which will open on June 28.