WEISS/MANFREDI is to lead a master planning team in re-imagining the world-renowned La Brea Tar Pits. The team will work with the National History Museum of Los Angeles County ( NHMLAC ) on a multi-year process of public engagement, master planning, design and construction at the Tar Pits’ 13-acre campus. The campus includes the world’s only active paleontological research site in a major urban area, its asphalt seeps, surrounding parkland, and the George C. Page Museum building.
WEISS/MANFREDI’s multidisciplinary team includes Los Angeles-based experiential designer Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces; horticulturalist and nationally recognised expert in water conservation and California ecology, Robert Perry of Perry and Associates Collaborative; Los Angeles native and La Brea-
educated paleobotanist Carole Gee; naturalist and artist Mark Dion; and designer Michael Bierut of Pentagram. The team will be augmented by Los Angeles-based consultants, including architect and historic preservation advocate Brenda Levin of Levin & Associates. A range of additional Los Angeles-based consultants will also be engaged in the master planning and subsequent project implementation phases.
Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, principals at WEISS/MANFREDI, said:
“There is truly no place in the world as magical as La Brea Tar Pits. We and our team are deeply honored and grateful for this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to reveal the multiple identities of the Tar Pits, the Museum, and Hancock Park. 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.”
NHMLAC chose WEISS/MANFREDI’s team through an international search process, in which the museums chose three finalists. Copenhagen-based Dorte Mandrup and Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York were the other two finalists announced in June 2019. In August, the three finalist firms and their teams publicly shared their visions for the site’s future. Through displays prepared by the three teams on view in the Page Museum and
materials available on TarPits.org, NHMLAC invited public feedback on the proposals and received more than 2,100 survey responses.
To assist with their selection, NHMLAC assembled a jury of leading figures from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, design, science, natural history, and the arts.