These architecture firms have designs on La Brea Tar Pits campus

Three firms will unveil their proposals for the campus around Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum

 Elizabeth Diller and a tar pit outside George C. Page Museum
Elizabeth Diller and a tar pit outside George C. Page Museum

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and two other architecture firms are competing to lead the design of a unique project that’s 50,000 years in the making.

The George C. Page Museum campus and area around the La Brea Tar Pits — a onetime death trap for mastodons and saber-tooth cats – will both undergo a renovation, the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County announced Friday.

The firms in the running are New York-based Diller Scofidio and Weiss/Manfredi, along with Dorte Mandrup of Denmark.

Their proposals will be unveiled in August, and the winner will be announced by the end of the year.

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The winning firm will lead public engagement, master planning, design and construction over the next several years. The master plan will focus on advancing scientific research and public engagement for the next half-century.

The 12-acre campus is managed by the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. It is one of the only museums in the world that features active paleontological research in the middle of a major city, where visitors can watch excavators unearth fossils of ancient wildlife.

The 57,000-square-foot George C. Page Museum was designed by L.A.-based architects Frank Thornton and Willis Fagan, and opened in 1977.

The project adds to the transformation underway on Museum Row. It started with the $125-million redevelopment of the Petersen Automotive Museum. Construction is underway of the $388-million Academy Museum across the street, and in April, Brad Pitt helped the L.A. County Museum of Art win approval for its $650-million redevelopment set to begin next year.