American and Danish firms vie to design makeover for the La Brea Tar Pits

A trio of architects have been shortlisted by the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) to renovate its 12 acre campus in Hancock Park, which contains the La Brea Tar Pits and the George C Page Museum.

The trio of architects selected by NHMLAC are Copenhagen firm Dorte Mandrup and two New York designers: Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Weiss/Manfredi.

The designs, which were revealed on Monday night, will be reviewed by experts from a range of disciplines and public input will be considered before a winner will be named by the end of the year.

More than 400,000 people visit the La Brea site each year to view the fossilised remains of Ice Age animals such as sabre-toothed tigers, dire wolves  and mastodons, as well as samples of plants, small animals and insects. However, it has been more than 40 years since the museum that houses the remains was built, and the NHMLAC decided it was time to improve the visitor experience.

Lori Bettison-Varga, NHMLAC’s president and director, said: "La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum are the only facilities of their kind in the world – an active, internationally renowned site of paleontological research in the heart of a great city, and a museum that both supports the scientists’ work and helps interpret it for more than 400,000 visitors a year.

"We are excited to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just renovate these facilities thoroughly but also to think deeply about how to make them function as well for neighbours and guests over the next 40 years as they have for the last 40-perhaps, even better."

NHMLAC expects to announce the winner of the competition by the end of 2019.

Image courtesy of NHMLAC

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