DLR Group|WRL Centennial Design for Cleveland's Museum of Natural History

DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky announced today that it has been selected to design the next phases of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s (CMNH) Centennial Transformation Project. DLR Group|WRL is a long-time design partner of CMNH and has completed numerous projects for the museum over the past 50 years, including the AIA Award-winning Nathan and Fannye Shafran Planetarium.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland by DLR Group. Rendering © DLR Group.

CMNH is located five miles east of downtown Cleveland in University Circle, a 550-acre concentration of educational, cultural, and medical institutions. Situated prominently on Wade Oval in the heart of the Cultural District, CMNH flanks the Doan Brook Watershed, which flows to the interconnected Lake Erie and the Great Lakes system.

“DLR Group|WRL’s team was inspired by CMNH’s proximity to and relationship with the surrounding bodies of water,” said DLR Group|WRL Senior Principal Paul Westlake, FAIA, who leads our Cultural+Performing Arts Studio. “Our sustainable design concept is an ode to water as a life-giving source and a force that shapes the earth. It speaks to the museum’s significance as a pillar of science, education, research, conservation, and community engagement.”

CMNH initiated its multiphase Centennial Transformation Project more than 10 years ago. Our integrated design team of architects, engineers, interior designers, and technology design experts are currently at work on the Gateway Projects phase. Set to finish in late 2020 in time to coincide with the museum’s centennial celebration, the Gateway Projects phase encompasses the renovation of the Murch Auditorium and the museum courtyard, and incorporates a new exhibit area devoted to current scientific discoveries.

The next phase, which is expected to break ground in 2021, includes a two-story addition to accommodate new exhibits and research on one level and collections storage on another level. Renovations to the museum lobby will follow and include consolidating two remote entries into a new grand visitor’s hall, renovations to the gift shop, and expansion of the café to increase the museum’s prominence on Wade Oval. Subsequent phases of the project include renovation of additional education, research, and gallery spaces, and are expected to complete in 2025. Once all phases of the entire Centennial Transformation Project are complete, the museum will encompass nearly 300,000 SF of space to house its 5 million artifacts.

DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.