Project Natural History Museum of Utah
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Project Details

Project Size

163,000 sq ft

Project Dates

27 months

Project Location

301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT

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.

  • LEED Gold
  • Self Performed Architectural Concrete
  • BIM
  • Jury’s Choice Excellence in Concrete Award, ACI Intermountain Chapter | 2012
  • AIA Utah Honors Award | 2012
  • Cultural Building Project of the Year, AGC of Utah | 2012
  • Institutional Over $5 Million, ABC Utah | 2012
  • Design Award, SARA/NY | 2012
  • Excellence Award, ACPA Utah Chapter | 2011
  • Excellence in Architecture New Building Honor Award, SCUP & AIA | 2014

Project Description

The Natural History Museum of Utah, located on the campus of the University of Utah, is a leading scientific and cultural institution in the Intermountain Region and recognized nationally for its active research programs. Anchored by 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. 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. The museum offers more gallery and education spaces to further its mission of public engagement in the sciences.

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.

Big-D extensively utilized Building Information Modeling (BIM) on the Natural History Museum project. This project used various types of models at different phases to maximize the benefit of the BIM process and to gain a greater understanding of the project at its earliest possible time within the project schedule.

The BIM process on this project included:

• Model Created to demonstrate excavation
• Architectural and Structural Models created to verify constructability
• AIA E202 used as the standard for subcontractor model creation
• Subcontractors created Models to be imported into master model and Clash Detection coordination completed
• Schedule attached to BIM allowing for a 4D visual demonstration of construction.  This allowed all trades to verify production rates and congestion areas before work started
• Coordination between owner installed Displays and Contractor provided MEP’ s coordinated for clearances and locations