Los Angeles, CA

Natural History Museum


The original structure, constructed in 1913, was designed by local architects Frank Hudson and William A.D. Munsell in the Beaux-Arts tradition with Spanish Renaissance and Romanesque features. The 1913 Building with its iconic rotunda, along with several contemporary additions, currently form the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the 2001 Historic Structures Report proposed modernizing the museum while preserving the building’s historic features. Working with CO Architects, SGH served as the historic materials conservation and waterproofing consultant for the 1913 Building Modernization Project.

For the 1913 Building Modernization Project, SGH conducted a condition assessment of the enclosure, including the walls, wood windows, granite stairs, the exterior of the main dome and turrets, and certain roofs and roof ledges. We surveyed the building facades with binoculars and performed hands-on surveys of suspect areas to identify and quantify damage and deterioration in the brick and terra-cotta masonry. We also water tested roofs and gutters to identify sources of leaks and gather information to design repairs. SGH developed a scope of work for the rehabilitation that included recommendations for repointing deteriorated masonry joints and waterproofing horizontal surfaces of terra-cotta cornices. We also provided recommendations for cleaning and restoring brick and terra-cotta masonry, windows and window frames, ceramic tile domes, and granite stairs; skylight repairs; and replacement of low-slope membrane roofing.

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value


Repair & Rehabilitation | Preservation
Building Enclosures | Applied Science & Research
Culture & Entertainment
CO Architects
Specialized Capabilities
Condition Assessments | Preservation | Environmental Simulations | Materials Science

Key team members

Carolyn Searls
Carolyn Searls
Senior Principal