Salt Lake City, UT

Natural History Museum of Utah


Set amongst the foothills of the Wasatch Range, the Rio Tinto Center serves as the new home for the Natural History Museum of Utah. The dramatic building facade is clad with 42,000 sq ft of standing-seam copper installed in horizontal bands suggestive of Utah rock formations. In addition to the copper, the complex facade features multiple cladding systems that come together at different angles and planes. SGH reviewed the building enclosure design and worked with the project team to evaluate alternatives to improve cost and performance.

SGH collaborated on the building enclosure design and helped the project team tackle the challenges associated with the severe local climate in terms of both high summer temperatures and low winter moisture levels. We recognized that low exterior moisture levels during cold weather exacerbate moisture migration from a humidified museum space through the building enclosure and air leakage from the exterior can cause undesirable fluctuations in interior humidity levels.

Enclosure components which cannot function in high humidity environments are subject to problems ranging from interior surface condensation to corrosion of structural components and degradation of building materials. SGH helped develop a high performance building enclosure system for the project with walls, roofs, windows, doors, curtain walls, and skylights designed to effectively control heat, air, and moisture migration from both the interior and exterior environments.

Our work included a design review of the construction documents. We provided recommendations to address the project challenges and also performed construction administration services that included water testing and whole-building infrared scans to verify the integrity of the finished enclosure.

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value


New Construction
Building Enclosures
Culture & Entertainment
Utah Department of Administrative Services Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM)
Specialized Capabilities
Building Science | Facades & Glazing | Roofing & Waterproofing

Key team members

Sean O'Brien
Sean O'Brien
Building Technology Division Head, New York