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Weiss/Manfredi to reimagine the La Brea Tar Pits

Our ‘Loops and Lenses’ concept creates new connections between the museum and the park, between science and culture, and envisions the entire site as an unfolding place of discovery.
– Marion Weiss

Weiss/Manfredi have been chosen to lead a masterplanning project for the 13ac (5ha) campus of the La Brea Tar Pits, which is described as the world’s only active paleontological research facility in a major urban area.

Tar Pits form when a type of naturally occurring petroleum leaks to the surface of the ground and its lighter elements evaporate off, leaving a sticky pool that can trap and preserve animals.

Research at the La Brea Tar Pits, which are situated in Los Angeles’s Hancock Park, began in 1913 and millions of sample have been recovered from them, including sabre-toothed cats, dire wolf and mastodon skeletons, plants, rodents and insects.

Carried out for the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC), of which the Tar Pits are part, the work will span a number of years and comprise a process of public engagement, masterplanning, design and construction.

It is aimed at rejuvenating the complex, enhancing the public experience and improving sustainability.

It will incorporate the centre's paleontological research site, its asphalt seeps, surrounding parkland, and the George C. Page Museum building.

Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, principals at Weiss/Manfredi, said: “Our ‘Loops and Lenses’ concept creates new connections between the museum and the park, between science and culture, and envisions the entire site as an unfolding place of discovery. We are thrilled to begin work with Dr. Bettison-Varga and NHMLAC to rejuvenate the tar pits and the museum and carry them into the future and into the public imagination.”

Weiss/Manfredi's proposal, described as a "21st-century reimagining" of the destination by Los Angeles county supervisor Sheila Kuehl, was chosen from 2,100 submissions and a final shortlist of three.

Weiss/Manfredi 
Weiss/Manfredi have been chosen to lead a masterplanning project for the 13ac (5ha) campus of the La Brea Tar Pits, which is described as the world’s only active paleontological research facility in a major urban area. Tar Pits form when a type of naturally occurring petroleum leaks to the surface of the ground and its lighter elements evaporate off, leaving a sticky pool that can trap and preserve animals. Research
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Weiss/Manfredi's proposal has been described as a
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