Since 2008, over 10 years before its opening, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has been acquiring three-dimensional motion picture objects; in 2012, Renzo piano completed the project; in 2015, construction began on site; in 2017, the project with detailed plans of the new building was unveiled in New York; and by the end of 2019 the institution will be opening its doors. Located in Los Angeles, the museum design comprises two distinct buildings for a total area of 300,000 sq ft.
With this museum, Piano succeeded in what he defined as an “incredible challenge” to give a home to something like cinema, which is at the same time “contemporary art but also history, longevity, time.” He did so by housing the two souls of the Academy Museum in two different buildings connected by elevated corridors. The historical wing is in the Saban building, a 1939 designated Los Angeles historic-cultural monument transformed, described by Piano as “a wonderful example of Streamline Modern style, which preserves the way people in 1939 imagined the future”.
This area of the museum – featuring more than 50,000 sq ft of exhibition galleries, a state-of-the-art education studio, a 288-seat theater, a restaurant and café, a store, and public event spaces – will open with a long-term exhibition that explores the evolution of film as well as a temporary one dedicated to Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.
To the present and the future of the movie industry is instead devoted a second building titled ‘the sphere’, a soaring globe-shaped addition that will include a 1,000-seat theater and will host a range of performances, screenings, premieres, and events. at its top, an expansive terrace will afford sweeping views of the Hollywood hills.
Ilona Catani Scarlett