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Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah, located at the University of Utah, is a leading scientific and cultural institution in the Intermountain Region and recognized nationally for its active research programs. Anchored in more than 40 years of experience, the museum cares for 1.2 million objects and offers innovative exhibitions and educational programs to thousands of residents and visitors each year.

• Excellence in Architecture for a New Building Honor Award, The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) and The American Institute of Architects’ Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA) | 2014
• Project of the Year - Innovative Concrete Using Slag Cement (Architectural), Slag Cement Association | 2012
• Jury’s Choice Excellence in Concrete Award, ACI Intermountain Chapter | 2012
• Cultural Building Project of the Year, AGC of Utah | 2012
• Champion of ABC Project of the Year, ABC Utah | 2012
• Institutional Over $5 Million, ABC Utah | 2012
• Design Award, SARA/NY | 2012
• Excellence Award, ACPA Utah Chapter | 2011


163,000 sq ft


Salt Lake City, Utah


27 Months

Illuminate the Natural World

The new building’s architectural design sensitively integrates it into a natural 17-acre site located above the shoreline of ancient Lake Bonneville, making nature a part of the building’s structure and visitor experience. The Rio Tinto Center embodies a whole-building approach to sustainable green practices and is an expression of the Museum’s mission to illuminate the natural world and the place of humans within it.

The Natural History Museum was one of the first projects that Big-D utilized Building Information Modeling, or BIM.

New Innovation

The museum recently completed a successful $103 million public/private funding partnership to construct the Rio Tinto Center, the Museum’s new 163,000-square-foot “green” home that now houses the state’s extraordinary collections and offers more gallery and education spaces to further its mission of public engagement in the sciences.