Living Laboratory

The Specs

The North Campus at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Photo Courtesy Mia Lehrer + Associates

Location: The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County North Campus

Designer: Mia Lehrer + Associates

Amenities: North Campus will serve as the new front yard of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The 3.5-acre urban nature experience is opening in segments and is slated to be complete in 2013, as the museum celebrates its centennial.

North Campus is the first outdoor expression of the museum’s master plan, calling for interactive exhibits of butterfly, bird, bug, and plant habitats, groves of trees, walking paths, a pond, and a dry creek.

The performative landscape features carefully selected plants, decomposed granite permeable pathways, reclaimed lumber, and minimal lighting.

The space will also be a field site for science, generating research in biodiversity.

North Campus encompasses 12 thematic zones, including the Urban Edge where nature interfaces with Los Angeles streetscape, the Transition Garden paralleling the history of Los Angeles landscape, a Living Wall created from stone and recycled concrete rubble from the museum’s reclaimed former north entrance, and the Stramphitheater (stair, ramp, amphitheater), a stepped landscaped area that forms natural seating.

Urban Wilderness, located within the eastern portion of North Campus, will feature native trees and a diverse mixture of shrubs and perennials.

Also accompanying the space is the 1913 Garden, the Erika J. Glazer Family Home Garden, a Shadow Garden to be experienced at a distance, and the future Nature Lab and Get Dirty Zone.