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Government/Public Building: Natural History Museum of Utah Blends With Its Rugged Landscape

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Nestled in the foothills above Salt Lake City, the $102-million Natural History Museum of Utah houses a collection of 1.2 million artifacts, including items from Utah's Native American tribes.

The 163,000-sq-ft building is composed primarily of exposed concrete with copper-alloy cladding. The natural patina of the copper alloy blends with the hillside setting and gives the building a stratified but fractured appearance, evoking the sandstone deserts and rugged mountains of Utah.

The two wings are connected by bridges over a three-story "canyon" that serves as a central gathering place.

Project Team

Owner: DFCM, Salt Lake City

Architect: GSBS Architects, Salt Lake City; Ennead Architects, New York City

General Contractor: Big-D Construction, Salt Lake City

Engineers: Colvin Engineering Associates Inc. (civil), Dunn Associates Inc. (structural), Spectrum Engineers (MEP), all of Salt Lake City

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