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Published on January 1st, 2013 | by UC&D Magazine

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Natural History Museum of Utah

AIA Utah Honors 2012 Merit Awards:

Natural History
Museum of Utah GSBS Architects, Salt Lake City, in
association with Ennead Architects, New York City
General Contractor: Project Location:
Big-D Construction, Salt Lake City Salt Lake City
Architect:GSBS Architects, Salt Lake City, in association with Ennead Architects, New York City

The new Natural History Museum of Utah, called the Rio Tinto Center, is located at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountain Range with it’s main purpose of properly housing the state’s diverse and extensive research collections. The building’s design process began in 2005 when the architectural team embarked on a statewide tour to experience a variety of Utah’s natural sites and talk with residents to understand their desires for a new museum building. The result, through its forms and materials, is a building that is an abstract extension and transformation of Utah’s landscape.

It’s environmentally-sensitive design blends the building into the foothills, and its inspiring architecture offers innovative public gallery spaces with breathtaking views of the Wasatch Front. The building encompasses 160,000 sq ft, including 35,000 sq ft of gallery space, as well as storage, administration, and research spaces to further the mission of the museum. In addition, the building’s many defining features complex geometries, board-formed concrete, and copper cladding – were handled with skill and precision by the construction team.

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