The Natural History Museum of Utah provides an introduction to a remarkable landscape, and celebrates unique paleontological discoveries, unusual gems and minerals, preserved prehistoric artifacts, and stories told by contemporary native people. Bridging of divide of nature and culture, the Museum offers an abstract extension and transformation of the land: its campus an expression of a landscape defined by rock, minerals, and vegetation.
Prompted by increased collections and research initiatives, the museum embarked upon a campaign to build a landmark of contemporary architecture, land stewardship, and exhibit communication that would resonate with 21st-century visitors. In collaboration with the architect, the Landscape Architect designed a campus that embodies the museum’s mission to highlight the natural world through scientific inquiry, educational outreach, multi-cultural experience, and human engagement. Digital terrain modeling, utilized to make the steep terrain accessible for all users, blurs the line between intervention and conservation. Sustainable design elements including rainwater recapture, permeable surfaces, and native plantings resulted in a landscape that mimics and restores the natural conditions of the environment and the site.