Archi-Love | The New Museum of Natural History

Salt Lake City has really improved on its architectural game this month with the opening of the New Museum of Natural History. The previous museum was housed in an old library on President's Circle (right in the middle of the University of Utah campus), which was a really charming historic building with a beautiful richness of detail.

However, it was small, and most of the exhibition space was fairly cramped. There are just far too many dinosaurs to hold in one building!

Consequently, a new museum was commissioned just up the hill and across campus, and I only have one word to say: SPEC TAC U LAR.

Perhaps I have a few more words to say. This building is epic. Not only is the form inventive and responds so perfectly to its mountainous site, but it tells the story of Utah as a geological region. The copper paneling came directly from Kennecott Copper Mine (a local quarry) and the interior illustrates the narrative of Utah's many canyons and jagged streams. Just behind the building, a series of trails connects the museum to several other worthwhile attractions, including the beautiful Red Butte Gardens. Every line in this building seems so perfectly placed, and seems to reinforce a timeless sophistication about the building. Design credit goes to Ennead Architecture (the building), Design Workshop (landscape), and GSBS Architects (the local architects who were responsible for permits and local legal issues).

Can you tell how much a fan of this building I am? I had a chance for visit the building about two-thirds through construction, and I left feeling so excited to visit after the exhibitions had been installed. As I mentioned before, there are lots of really epic dinosaur fossils on display, but the museum is also home to a wealth of treasures in archaeology, entomology (insects), mineralogy, and more. I haven't had a chance to visit since the museum's opening, but it is high on my date night to-do list, especially because admission is free for U of U students and staff! Pleas visit with great haste if you live in the area, I promise you won't be disappointed. Seriously, who can resist dinosaurs?

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