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Academy Unveils Plans for ‘Landmark’ Museum

Drawings and details of the Renzo Piano/Zolta Pali design call for six levels of exhibition and multi-use spaces


The Academy has unveiled more details about its Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which it says will include 30,000 square feet of exhibition space, labs and galleries and a 15,000-square-foot landscaped public plaza.

The AMPAS release did not, however, address TheWrap’s observation that a new spherical structure at the site looked like the Death Star from “Star Wars.”

Also read: Is the Academy Building a Death Star at its New Museum?

The complex, according to the Academy, will be “a significant cultural landmark attracting visitors from across Southern California and around the world.” Its six levels will include moviemaking labs and flexible exhibition galleries in the former May Company department store building that is now part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

AMPASIn addition to exhibits, programming will include screenings in the David Geffen Theater, seminars, moviemaking labs, discussions and multidisciplinary presentations.

Architects Renzo Piano and Zolta Pali have designed a project that the Academy said will make “environmentally sensitive” use of the Streamline Moderne building, which was built in 1939 and acquired by LACMA in 1994.

The outdoor spaces surrounding the museum, according to the release, will be a “landscaped public piazza that will serve as gathering space for visitors and connect the museum with the LACMA campus.” It will also include a rooftop terrace and special event spaces with a capacity of 1,000 guests.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is scheduled to open in 2017. The Academy is currently raising money for the project with a capital campaign chaired by Bob Iger and co-chaired by Tom Hanks and Annette Bening. To date, that campaign has raised more than half of its goal of $300 million, with the largest contribution being $25 million from the David Geffen Foundation.

The Academy has been working to build a museum for more than a decade, initially acquiring property on Vine Street in Hollywood adjacent to its Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study. When the economic downturn essentially killed the idea of raising enough money to build a museum from scratch, AMPAS made a deal with to locate the museum on LACMA property at Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave.

The Vine Street property is now the site of the Oscars Outdoors open-air theater, with additional uses planned for the future.