27 February 2020
Decidedly more than just a museum. It is a film centre offering unparalleled experiences and glimpses of the world of film and filmmaking. Exciting, immersive, cultural, educational and entertaining, the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles is set to open on 14th December 2020 – as officially announced during the Oscars award ceremony by Tom Hanks, one of the trustees of the museum. Presented as “the world’s premier institution devoted to exploring the art and science of movies and moviemaking,” the museum is sponsored by the Academy, the prestigious institution that confers the most sought-after honours in the film world at global level. Renzo Piano Building Workshop is the design architect of the project in partnership with executive architect Gensler. The project largely consists of the restoration and development of the historic May Company Building, an example of Streamline Moderne architecture, built in 1939. Renamed the Saban Building and six storeys high, it was used as a shopping centre for several decades and was badly damaged in the 1987 earthquake.
The project has preserved the original structure with its angular facade and cylindrical gold tower and brought it up to date with an iconic spherical structure covered with a glass dome, inspired by the hot air balloons that landed in the nearby airfield during the Twenties, and which will be used as a film theatre seating 1,000. The ground floor opens out onto the city, while the domed building has been raised from the ground and, as the architect Renzo Piano says: “seems to lift off the ground into the perpetual, imaginary voyage through space and time that is moviegoing.” On the top floor of the building, an open-air terrace offers matchless views of the Hollywood hills. There are 2,800 square metres of exhibition space for temporary shows - such as the inaugural one devoted to the Japanese master of film animation, Hayao Miyazaki – laboratories and two theatres. Restaurants, a café, a bookshop and events spaces round off the social offerings of the building. Cinema fans will be able to dip into its history with drawings, costumes and various types of installation. There are more than 12.5 million photographs, 137,000 films and videos, 85,000 sets, 65,500 posters as well as more than 1,700 film collections, and over 5,000 objects, clothes, accessories and memorabilia. The many cult objects include Dracula’s cape, worn by Bela Lugosi in the film of the same name (1931), the costume worn by Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932), the hat worn by Debbie Reynolds in Singing in the Rain (1952), and the purple jacket worn by Jack Nicholson in The Shining (1980). It will be a state-of-the art film centre and a true homage to the seventh art.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
6067 Wilshire Blvd,
Los Angeles, Ca 90036