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Reimagine La Brea Tar Pits

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La Brea Tar Pits

WEISS/MANFREDI Selected To Lead Master Plan For La Brea Tar Pits

Read the press release

We are pleased to announce that the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) has selected the architecture firm WEISS/MANFREDI to lead a master planning team in reimagining the uniquely important and world-renowned La Brea Tar Pits. The team will work with us on a multi-year process of public engagement, master planning, design and construction to reimagine the 13-acres of Hancock Park, La Brea Tar Pits, and the museum. The design process for the master plan will take place over the next several years and will be presented to the community during that time.

The Team

WEISS/MANFREDI’s multidisciplinary team includes Los Angeles-based experiential designer Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces; horticulturist and nationally recognized expert in water conservation and California ecology, Robert Perry of Perry and Associates Collaborative; Los Angeles native and La Brea-educated paleobotanist Carole Gee; naturalist and artist Mark Dion; and designer Michael Beirut of Pentagram. The team will be augmented by Los Angeles-based consultants, including architect and historic preservation advocate Brenda Levin of Levin & Associates. A range of additional Los Angeles-based consultants will also be engaged in the master planning and subsequent project implementation phases.

The Selection Process

Three architectural teams—Dorte Mandrup (Copenhagen), WEISS/MANFREDI (New York) and Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York)— were finalists through a process that began in March 2019. As part of our commitment to making this master planning process accessible to the public, the principals of each team presented their approaches at a community event in August. We then put the models, drawings, and renderings on display in the museum at La Brea Tar Pits for the public to view and respond to via survey.

"In the end," said President and Director, Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, "there was consensus in the feedback we received from the competition jury and selection committee, NHMLAC staff and board, and the Los Angeles community that WEISS/MANFREDI’s conceptual approach captured the imaginations of a broad cross section of audiences. We look forward to starting our master planning work with them in the new year!"

Read more about the competition.

Overhead shot of the Tar Pits

About La Brea Tar Pits

La Brea Tar Pits is the best and most complete record of life during the Ice Age, a living laboratory for scientists and the global community to engage in and learn from groundbreaking research, and discover plants and animals trapped in the tar pits over the last 50,000 years. Outside, you can watch excavators carve fossils out of asphalt. Inside the museum, our staff prepares these discoveries in the see-through Fossil Lab. The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County oversees 13-acres of Hancock Park, La Brea Tar Pits and the museum (established in 1977 as the George C. Page Museum).  

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