Location

Los Angeles, CA

Owner

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Architect

CO Architects

Landscape Architect

Mia Lehrer + Associates

Construction Manager / Owner's Rep

Cordell Corporation

Project Size

410,000 sq. ft.

View

Dinos on the Move

For years, the Natural History Museum (NHM) of L.A. County’s famous “Dueling Dinosaurs” duked it out in a large round planter box athwart the broad pathway from Exposition Boulevard to the north entrance to the museum. It was a seemingly prominent position. But if you happened to drive by, you’d probably only see them after you’d already passed them—and there is no fast, easy route to drive back for a second look. The reconfiguration of the North Campus—including the demolition of the old entry plaza—provided an opportunity to reposition the beasts at the Museum’s most prominent corner, adjacent to the new Metro stop, new parking structure and new pedestrian entrance to the North Campus garden.

Delegated to Plas-Tal, a structural steel fabricator/erector, the task of moving the statues might have seemed relatively straightforward, if a bit heavy. But could anyone seriously have expected an angry T. rex and furious Triceratops to go easily?

It turns out that the two statues are actually attached to each other: T. rex’s left foot is atop Triceratops’s rear right. Their feet are attached to anchor plates, which in turn were attached via bolts to the original supports.

No wonder they look crabby--T. rex has been stepping on Triceratops's foot all this time.
Once the round planter box was removed, the steel and concrete supports were exposed–along with the real reason for the dinos’ crabby demeanor: T. rex has been stepping on Triceratops’s foot all this time.

The Plas-Tal crew created a steel frame to hold the statues safely.

Don't know my own strength! Triceratops gets caged with a little help from a friend.
Don’t know my own strength! Triceratops gets caged with a little help from a friend–Darrell Webb, MATT’s superintendent for NHM’s new parking garage.

Once the plates were exposed and with the dinos supported by the frame, the steelworkers cut through the bolts.

Dinos caged and ready to go.
Dinos caged and ready to go.

The dinos were then moved by crane (a sight you don’t see every day) to their new location…

Taking the dinos out for a walk.
Taking the dinos out for a walk.

… and set atop the plain concrete pillars that would serve as the foundation of their new supporting structure.

Safely ensconced on new supports at the corner of Exposition Blvd. & Robertson Drive--the northwestern corner of the museum property--the Dinos await the next step.
Safely ensconced on new supports at the corner of Exposition Blvd. & Bill Robertson Lane–the museum’s northwestern corner–the Dinos await the next step: completion of the new mounting.

So what would the new structure look like? To be continued…