Los Angeles City Council Approves Academy Museum

©Renzo Piano Building Workshop/©A.M.P.A.S.
Academy Museum

The project, designed by Renzo Piano, will begin construction this summer, with a ceremonial ground-breaking in the fall.

The Los Angeles City Council has given its blessing to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has proposed building on the site of the former May Company Building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Ave.

The $300 million project, which hopes to open its doors to the public by 2017, received unanimous approval from the council, which voted 13-0 in its favor at a meeting Wednesday. Construction will begin this summer, with a ceremonial ground-breaking taking place in the fall.

"I am thrilled that Los Angeles is gaining another architectural and cultural icon," Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an announcement issued by the Academy. "My office of economic development has worked directly with the museum's development team to ensure that the Academy 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 Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. "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."

“I couldn’t think of a better home for the Academy Museum than Museum Row. The museum will be an iconic addition to our city and will inspire generations to come,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge, during the final days of his 14 years representing Council District 4, which includes the Academy Museum site on the Miracle Mile.

The Academy has already named a museum director, Kerry Brougher, who joined the project last summer, and has been conducting studies of the existing Streamline Moderne building that will be overhauled as part of the new design, which features a spherical theater, by architect Renzo Piano. The museum will feature six floors of exhibition spaces, a movie theater, education studios, special events spaces, conservation areas and a cafe and store, the Academy said. A new spherical addition will connect to the May Company building and feature a 1,000-seat theater and rooftop terrace.
"Renzo's design embodies the museum's mission: Juast 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 the cinema," Brougher said.
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 Academy's capital campaign, launched in 2012, is chaired by Disney CEO Bob Iger and co-chaired by Annette Bening and Tom Hanks. The Academy said it has already secured more than $250 million in pledges from more than 1,300 individual donors.
UPDATED 4:23 p.m.: With Academy statements.