In our last episode (see posting of 21 Oct 2010), the Natural History Museum's iconic Dueling Dinos had been moved from their original location, directly in front of the old north entrance to the museum, to a new, more conspicuous spot by the museum's most prominent corner. There, resting atop new concrete pillars, they awaited the final finish to their new mounting.


Los Angeles, CA


Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


CO Architects

Landscape Architect

Mia Lehrer + Associates

Construction Manager / Owner's Rep

Cordell Corporation


Dueling Dinos: Conclusion of their Epic Journey

As we left them in their previous adventure, the Natural History Museum’s Dueling Dinos had been successfully airlifted to their new location at the corner of Exposition Blvd. and Bill Robertson Lane–the museum’s most prominent corner, right by the new pedestrian entry to the museum’s North Campus, the bus stop, the new Expo Line metro stop, and the new parking structure that MATT Construction had built in an earlier phase of the museum’s  “NHM Next” project.

Dueling Dinos aloft, enroute to their new digs.
Dueling Dinos aloft, enroute to their new digs.

Moving the dinos was, of course, only part of the task. CO Architects’ Fabian Kremkus designed a new mount of stylized rocks formed of irregularly angled shapes that would resemble the boulders scattered about the new North Campus garden … the very garden whose gates the dinosaurs were now, well, guardin’.  Originally, it was envisioned that the new mounting would be of Cor-Ten® steel, a low-maintenance, atmospheric corrosion-resistant steel alloy that develops a rustic mahogany patina.  However, Cor-Ten is quite expensive—as is stainless steel, another option considered.  It was not clear how carbon steel would age over time.  And the ability to protect any of these steel surfaces from graffiti was questionable.

Boulders like these are a signature feature of NHM's new North Campus garden.
 Landscape architect Michelle Sullivan (Mia Lehrer + Associates) used boulders like these to create a recurring theme in NHM’s new North Campus garden.



MATT Superintendent Ken George offered a value-engineering suggestion that was enthusiastically adopted by all concerned: a solution that both saved the Owners money and delighted the designers with its naturalistic appearance.

Working from 3D models provided by the architect, C-MATT Corporation’s Carpenter Foreman, Jerry “Butch” Mcentarffer—in his final job before retirement—created a frame of bent rebar and chicken wire, backed by construction-grade paper wrapped around the plain concrete pillars.

MacGyver or Mcentarfar? Jerry
MacGyver or Mcentarfar? Jerry “Butch” Mcentarfar crafts a mold for the Dueling Dinos’ new mounting using paper, chicken wire and rebar.


Butch then surrounded the wrapped pillars with a framework of rebar and chicken wire. The shotcrete applied by filled
Butch’s framework of rebar and chicken wire overlies a backing of construction-grade paper wrapped around each of the plain concrete columns. Tan-colored shotcrete, applied by Structural Shotcrete Systems, filled in the framework, stopping at the paper.  Bonas Co. then sprayed on several layers of anti-graffiti coating.



Structural Shotcrete Systems applied integrally colored shotcrete which penetrated through the layers of chicken wire and rebar, until stopped by the heavy paper; then they smoothed and finished the exterior surface. After the shotcrete cured, Bonas Co. spray-applied several layers of anti-graffiti coating.

The result was a tan foundation which did indeed look much like the boulders in the adjacent garden.

The Dueling Dinos' new mounting works well with the boulders that are a recurring theme in NHM's North Campus garden.
The Dueling Dinos’ new mounting works well with the boulders scattered throughout NHM’s North Campus garden.

To complete the installation and tie it into the garden, landscape architect Michelle Sullivan, of Mia Lehrer + Associates, surrounded the dinos with variegated agaves, aloes, prickly pear and other drought tolerant plants. Attractive, in a dauntingly spiky sort of way, they are definitely a deterrent to keep mischief-makers away from the dinos.

Now fully prepared, the Dueling Dinos are ready once more to excite the imaginations of potential museum-goers, and to show them the way to get there.

However you arrive at NHM--by car, bus, metro or just legging it--the Dueling Dinos show you the way to the entrance.
However you arrive at NHM–by car, bus, metro or just legging it–the Dueling Dinos show you the way to the entrance.
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