Natural History Museum of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Developing a learning environment by integrating architecture with the natural landscape

The Natural History Museum of Utah is located at the base of the majestic Wasatch Mountain Range; the design challenge was to stitch together natural and cultural worlds into a seamless, educational landscape that would engage visitors and compete with the distractions of today’s “wired” culture. Our solution created a camouflage pattern that is geometric and manmade up close but evocative of natural patterns surrounding it from a distance. In this way, the landscape can be at home in its natural surroundings and yet remain unabashedly a cultural construction. The team employed green building techniques such as rainwater capture, pervious paving, native plantings, and local materials to promote long-term sustainability. Visitors not only have stunning views of the Oquirrh Mountains and Great Salt Lake but also engage with the environment through learning opportunities embedded in the landscape.


  • 2010 ASLA Utah, Paper Landscape Architecture Award
  • 2014 ASLA Colorado, Honor Award for Design


Ennead, Gillies Stramsky Brems Smith, Ralph Applebaum Associates, Stantec, Leslie E. Robertson Associates, Dunn Associates, Inc., Craig Johnson, Big D