Los Angeles, California, USA
Architectural practice Weiss/ Manfredi designs a major new Master Plan and renovation process for the La Brea Tar Pits, including the existing museum, excavation sites, and other parts of the 13-acre site where the institution is located.
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum Master Plan has recently been awarded a 2023 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
For locals and visitors, La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum are sites of exploration and an enduring source of wonder.
The reimagination of the park and museum emerges from a close analysis of what is present, inspiring a commitment to preserve and magnify the park, the tar pits, and the museum as an ever-changing campus for discovery.
The La Brea Loops and Lenses form a triple Möbius strip that links all existing elements of the park to redefine Hancock Park as a continuously unfolding experience, connecting three distinguishing identities that are latent within the park today.
Research and Revelation—the site of the excavation pits and Pleistocene Garden, Community and Culture—where the museum and central green are located, and Spectacle and Urban Fictions—where the lake pit and mastodons join the public imagination on Wilshire Boulevard.
The different themes of the loops embody journeys, with programming that appeals to diverse interests—from paleontology to bird watching, from science to play.
The new 1-kilometer pedestrian path crosses over the Lake Pit, frames views into the museum, enhances amenities for community engagement and research, and reveals the riches found in the tar pits and museum.
As a vibrant public park, active exploration is complemented by lookout platforms along the loop to provide more intimate spaces for reflection.
Students and curious adults can observe excavation and investigation in action.
The Page Museum’s rejuvenation and expansion are rooted in an analysis of the existing building, preserving and magnifying its unique strengths.
The renovation and expansion are conceived as a contemporary Wunderkammer, a treasure chest of stunning fossils and artifacts, from large to microscopic.
Like a magnifying glass, exhibition spaces bring artifacts into focus and make visible the museum’s treasures to the public.
Framed views throughout the park and museum bring into alignment the research and museum collection that contains over 3.5 million specimens.
As flexible armatures, loops, and lenses connect and reveal, forming a continuous journey that tells the story of La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum: the continuum from prehistoric time to the contemporary moment.
The museum’s treasures are revealed to visitors, bringing the museum to the park, and the park into the public imagination.
Project: La Brea Tar Pits and Museum Master Plan
Client: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles