The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County announced Wednesday that the New York-based architectural firm Weiss/Manfredi was selected to redesign the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum with a plan that leaves the museum's beloved fiberglass mammoths in place.
Marion Weiss, Michael Manfredi and their team will work with NHMLAC on a multi-year process of public engagement, master planning, design and construction at the 13-acre campus. The project will encompass the world's only active paleontological research site in a major urban area, the museum's asphalt seeps, surrounding parkland and the George C. Page Museum building.
"We are excited to move forward with Marion, Michael and their remarkable team, as we work toward a more integrated experience of the museum and the landscape in Hancock Park, while increasing community access, preserving the site's iconic features and developing a more sustainable infrastructure for the next 50 years," said Lori Bettison-Varga, president and director of the NHMLAC.
The plan calls for preserving most of the park's current architecture while adding a new wing to the northwest portion of the property, where a parking lot currently sits.
According to the Weiss/Manfredi, the idea is to create one continuous experience throughout the park and the NHMCLAC, enhance spaces for community and scientific research and "reveal the La Brea collection to visitors, bringing the museum to the park and the park into the public imagination."
One of the concepts being considered would have removed the mammoths located in the pit along Wilshire Boulevard. But, under the Weiss/Manfredi proposal, a mother mammoth would remain in its current location and be a featured attraction in the plan.
Weiss/Manfredi and two other finalists -- Danish architecture studio Dorte Mandrup and New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro -- pitched ideas to the museum in August. Public feedback was solicited on the three plans by NHMLAC, which received more than 2,100 survey responses from Angelenos.