The 163,000-Square-Foot Rio Tinto Center Is One Of Utah’s Most Beautiful Buildings
Overlooking the Salt Lake Valley, the Rio Tinto Center is home to the Natural History Museum of Utah, and it’s one of the most beautiful modern buildings in the Beehive State. Take a look:
The Natural History Museum of Utah opened its doors in 1969, in a historic building at the University of Utah. In 2011, it got a brand new home: The Rio Tinto Center.
One of the building's most beautiful exterior features is the 42,000 square feet of copper wrapped in layers around the top of the building. It's meant to mimic the various layers of rock formations found in the Beehive State, and the copper was all mined right here in Utah at the Kennecott Copper Mine.
Expansive windows let in tons of natural light, and provide incredible views.
When you step inside, you'll find yourself in a three-story lobby that's called "The Canyon."
Visitors will enjoy the collection of more than 500 artifacts that grace the walls of The Canyon. These are just a small sampling of the more than 1.5 million objects that are carefully curated here.
Other expansive spaces throughout the museum provide plenty of opportunities for guests of all ages to explore the natural world through various exhibits.
The museum is built right into the hillside high above the University of Utah, and it's arranged in several terraces. The sweeping valley views are stunning from here.
The Rio Tinto Center has a LEED Gold Certification, which means that it's environmentally-friendly and sustainable. It has solar panels on its roof which provide 25 percent of the energy for the building, and pervious concrete in its parking lot, which diverts water into a groundwater system.
Other sustainable features include two 10,000-gallon water collection barrels which provide irrigation water to the entire property, high-efficiency plumbing, and motion-sensor lighting which turns off when visitors are not present.
The outdoor lighting surrounding the building is carefully designed to prevent light pollution around the building, keep the skies dark enough to see the stars overhead.
The Natural History Museum of Utah is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Make advanced reservations online to visit.
Visit the Natural History Museum of Utah’s
website to learn more about this beautiful building, and follow the museum’s Facebook page to see what new exhibits are in the works there.
While you’re visiting the museum, you might want to pop over to
Red Butte Garden to admire the pretty plants and soak in the city views.
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Address: Natural History Museum of Utah, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA