Oscar Museum Selects Architects Renzo Piano, Zoltan Pali

AMPAS hires Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali to collaborate on turning May Co. building at LACMA into new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Last Updated: May 30, 2012 @ 11:02 AM

Architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali have been chosen to design the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Academy announced on Wednesday.

May Company buildingThe two men were chosen by the Academy's Museum Committee, which is made up of current AMPAS president Tom Sherak, past presidents Sid Ganis and Robert Rehme, Academy governors Craig Barron, Jim Bissell, Gale Anne Hurd and Rob Friedman, and  former governor Kathleen Kennedy.

Renzo Piano (below left), who won the Pritzker Prize for his architecture in 1998, previously designed the expansion of LACMA, where the Academy museum will be located. His other work includes the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Central St. Giles Court in London and the headquarters of the New York Times.

Also read: Academy Museum on Track to Hire Architect, Raise $100 Million

Pali (below right) is the co-founder of Studio Pali Fekete architects, and a Los Angeles native who has designed the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and restored L.A. landmarks the Greek Theatre, the Pantages Theatre and the Getty Villa.

Renzo Piano and Zoltan PaliThe Academy Museum will be located in the historic May Company building on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. Opened in 1939, the 325,000-square-foot art moderne building is owned by LACMA, which agreed to lease it to the Academy last year.

"Renzo's track record of creating iconic cultural landmarks combined with Zoltan's success is transforming historically-significant buildings is a perfect marriage for a museum that celebrates the history and the future of the movies," Academy CEO Dawn Hudson commented in a statement announcing the appointments.

"We as architects make buildings that are portraits that represent our clients. The Academy Museum will take the visitor through the back door of cinema, behind the curtain and into moviemaking magic," Piano added.

The Academy had made a decade-long attempt to build a new museum from the ground up in Hollywood, and a search committee had interviewed architects for that project. But the economic crash of 2008 doomed the chances of raising the estimated $350 million-$400 million that project would have cost, making the LACMA property more an attractive alternative.

The Hollywood location is now the site of the "Oscars Outdoors" open-air theater and screening series.

AMPAS is currently in its first phase of fundraising for the new museum and expects to meet its initial goal of $100 million by October.