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Shimmering pavilion now open at La Brea Tar Pits

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It’ll be there for you to Instagram through the fall

A colorful, temporary addition to the La Brea Tar Pits that will serve as an event space and Instagram playground is now open for the public to explore.

Looking like a more vibrant version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the rainbow-colored pavilion made from 19 shades of polymer (technically, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, or ETFE) really stands out on the green grassy lawn next to the tar pits.

Coworking company Second Home and the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) teamed up to sponsor the pavilion, which will be up and offering public programs at the Miracle Mile site through the fall. (Second Home is opening a Hollywood coworking location in September.)

Originally designed in 2015 by Madrid-based architecture firm Selgascano, the structure premiered as part of the Serpentine Gallery’s annual installation, which taps a design firm each year to build a customized structure in London’s Hyde Park (here’s this year’s Serpentine Pavilion). This is the pavilion’s first visit to the United States, and LA will be its only venue.

While the dynamic, Instagram-friendly design of the pavilion is likely to be its strongest draw, NHMLAC director Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga notes the pop-up is also “a place for people to meet and be inspired ... It gives a glimpse of what we can do with cultural programming at our museums, at that space where art and science intersect.”

The 866-square-foot structure is set to host a roster of “events focusing on the intersection of art, design, science, and nature” including film screenings and talks. All events will be free and open to the public.

Beyond the events, an announcement for the project encourages visitors to get inside and explore: “Visitors will be able to enter the pavilion and pass through a ‘secret corridor’ between the outer and inner layers of the structure and into the pavilion’s bright stained-glass-effect interior.”

The NHMLAC kicked off a multi-year process for reimagining the La Brea Tar Pits’ site earlier this month.

The walls create a “stained glass” effect.
Photos by Iwan Baan
The spacious pavilion will host events through the fall.
By Iwan Baan.
A photo of the glow-worm-like pavilion set up on a lawn at the tar pits.
A view of the pavilion at night.