The Los Angeles City Council approved plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in a unanimous vote yesterday. Construction will begin this summer and a ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for this fall.
“I am thrilled that Los Angeles is gaining another architectural and cultural icon,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “My office of economic development has worked directly with the museum’s development team to ensure that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will create jobs, support tourism and pay homage to the industry that helped define our identity as the creative capital of the world.”
“We are grateful to our incredible community of supporters who have helped make this museum a reality,” said Dawn Hudson, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CEO. “Building this museum has been an Academy goal for many years and we wouldn’t be here today without our neighbors on Museum Row, our board of governors, our current and past Academy presidents, members, and of course, our generous donors.”
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the Academy Museum will restore and revitalize the historic Wilshire May Company building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. The Academy Museum will feature six floors of exhibition spaces, a movie theater, education studios, special event spaces, conservation areas, and a café and store. A new spherical addition will connect to the May Company building with glass bridges and will feature a state-of-the-art 1,000-seat theater and a rooftop terrace.
“Renzo’s design embodies the museum’s mission. Just as it links the past and present by connecting the May Company building with the new sphere, our exhibitions and programs will explore the history and future of cinema,” said Kerry Brougher, the Academy Museum’s director. “Our museum will, for the first time, open up the western edge of the campus to the surrounding community, inviting our neighbors onto an open public piazza. Renzo’s sensitivity to location and urbanism will transform this site and make it a gathering place in Los Angeles.”
The main lobby level of the museum will feature public areas including a free introductory gallery. The lobby will connect to the outdoor public piazza and a new pedestrian walkway. The museum also will have a main entrance on Wilshire Boulevard, facilitating easy access for pedestrians and mass transit riders.
“The museum will be the year-round public face of the Academy,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We will draw on the immense talents of our members to tell the story of motion pictures from a global perspective, for a global audience.”
The Academy Museum’s architectural team is composed of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, design architect, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect. Morley Builders and Taslimi Construction Company are the general contractors, and the building developer is Paratus Group. The museum is scheduled to open in late 2017.
The Academy Museum will feature a core historical exhibition and rotating temporary exhibitions, complemented by special projects, publications, digital initiatives and a slate of public programs that will include screenings, premieres, panel discussions, gallery talks and K–12 education initiatives. The Museum’s exhibitions and programs will convey the magic of cinema and offer a glimpse behind the screen, illuminating the creative, collaborative process of filmmaking.
The Academy launched the Museum’s $300 million capital campaign in 2012, chaired by Bob Iger and co-chaired by Annette Bening and Tom Hanks. The Academy has already secured more than $250 million in pledges from more than 1,300 individual donors globally.