Los Angeles, CA
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Mia Lehrer + Associates
Construction Manager / Owner's Rep
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.