Motion Picture Academy unveils new drawings for film museum
By Nicole Sperling -- Los Angeles Times
The current architectural rendering for the Academy Museum of Motion
Pictures. (©Renzo Piano Building
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has unveiled new
concept drawings for its film museum including a giant, domed theater
structure to open in 2017 at the historic May Co. building on the LACMA
campus at Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.
The plans will require the demolition of a back portion of the building,
which was added on in 1946, to make room for the orb-shaped, glass-topped
structure that will be connected to the original building and will
feature a 1,000-seat theater and a terrace with an expansive view of
Hollywood. As announced Monday, the theater will be named for David
Geffen, who has donated $25 million to the museum.
Italian architect Renzo Piano called the new structure a "soap
bubble," a "dirigible," "a sphere" and said it
reminded him of "a spaceship landing" in a conversation with
L.A. Times editors and reporters Thursday to discuss the museum
"I want it to feel that it's about the wonder of
cinema-making," added the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, who is
working with fellow architect Zoltan Pali on the design.
The academy will hold an "Inaugural Celebration" this evening
at the May Co. site to thank donors to the museum, for which it hopes to
raise $300 million for construction. More than half of that has already
Los Angeles Country Museum of Art owns the building, and the academy has
taken out a 110-year lease on the property.
According to Heather Cochran, managing director of museum project, the
organization is about to embark on the Environmental Impact Report
process, which should last 12 to 18 months.
Cochran said the construction process could last 30 months, and academy
CEO Dawn Hudson is hopeful the museum will open in 2017.
The academy says the museum will feature six levels of exhibition and
programming space, including more than 30,000 square feet of
"flexible exhibition galleries." A 15,000-square-foot
landscaped public piazza will serve as a gathering space for visitors and
connect the museum with the LACMA campus. Piano was quick to point out
that much of the ground floor of the museum will be free and open to the
In the past few years the academy has acquired a few iconic pieces of
memorabilia that are likely to be featured in the museum's permanent
collection, including a slew of historic movie posters and the ruby
slippers from "The Wizard of Oz."
In the academy's program for Thursday evening's event, there is special
thanks given to Michael Eisenberg for his donation of iconic movie
costumes and to Dr. Gary Milan for the mahogany-colored statuette of the
Maltese Falcon and the piano from Rick's Cafe Americain from
Academy officials said entrance fees for the museum would likely be $12
to $15 a ticket. They plan numerous interactive exhibits highlighting the
behind-the-scenes of movie-making.