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Academy Museum / Geffen Theatre

6067 Wilshire Blvd.  Los Angeles, CA 90036  | map |


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum of Motion Pictures is scheduled to open in the former May Co. department store building in 2019. The complex is to include the spherical 1,000 seat Geffen Theatre behind the original building, now called the Saban Building. David Geffen donated $25 million to the project. Photo: Bill Counter - October 14, 2018

In addition to the main theatre there also will be a smaller house. The AMPAS website notes: "The 1,000-seat theater located in the spherical building will not only be an unforgettable part of each visitor’s experience, but will also become a hub for major film events including premieres, openings and special presentations with the world’s leading filmmakers. A more intimate 288-seat (below ground) theater will be the museum’s 'cinematheque,' offering screenings ranging from Saturday morning matinees for children of all ages to global cinema series. Both theaters will be home to an array of live performances, lectures, panels, and other events that will bring the most notable artists working in film to Los Angeles. Both theaters will be equipped to present film with multidimensional sound experiences and superior screen quality."

The location is the northeast corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, just west of LACMA.

Website: www.oscars.org/museum

Original building opening: 1939    Projected Museum opening: 2019

Architects: The original building was a design of Albert C. Martin & Samuel A. Marx. The architects for the museum are Renzo Piano and Gensler. The budget as of mid-2017 was reported to be $388 million. The May Co. building, owned by LACMA, is on 110 year lease to the Academy for a cost of $36 million.



A rendering of the museum's theatre from the about page of the museum section of the AMPAS website. They discuss the project:

"The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures—located in the historic May Company building in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles— will be the world’s premier institution devoted to exploring the art and science of movies and moviemaking. Designed by Pritzker-Prize winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum will consist of a major renovation to the 1930s Streamline Moderne May Company building plus a soaring spherical addition that will house a 1,000-seat theater.

"Visitors to the museum will experience the magic of cinema and the creative, collaborative process of filmmaking. The Academy Museum will feature six stories of dynamic spaces, including more than 50,000 square feet of immersive exhibition galleries, a state-of-the-art education studio, two film and performance theaters, a restaurant and café, and dynamic public and special event spaces."



Another rendering of the Geffen Theatre from AMPAS / Renzo Piano.



A rendering of the theatre from AMPAS / Reno Piano that appeared with "Film Academy releases new renderings...," a September 2017 Curbed L.A. article by Jenna Chandler.


Exterior views: 


The May Co. building in 1940. It's an Ansel Adams photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



A c.2006 Carol Highsmith photo in the Library of Congress collection.



A view of the panels going up on the spherical addition. It's a Kevin Roderick photo from an October 9, 2017 post on LA Observed. Thanks to Rodney Hoffman for posting it on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



A look at the rising sphere from the rear. Thanks to Peter Chacona Chaconas for his photo, a September 2017 post on the non-public Facebook group Mid Century Modern Los Angeles.



A side view. Photo: Peter Chacona Chaconas - Mid Century Modern Los Angeles - September 2017



A closer look through the fence along Fairfax. Photo: Peter Chacona Chaconas - Mid Century Modern Los Angeles- September 2017. Thanks, Peter!



A photo by Joshua White looking out from the existing May Co. building toward what will be the level of the Dolby Terrace on top of the new sphere. The photo from AMPAS appeared with a September 2017 Curbed L.A. article on the project.



A construction photo appearing with an April 2017 Variety article "Academy Scrambles to Avert Museum Distaster." We're looking at the north side of the building where the new theatre will go. The Variety caption: "The building process has been plagued with setbacks, including the discovery of a buried mastadon."



The May Co. building. Photo: Bill Counter - March 2018



The project from Fairfax. Photo: Bill Counter - March 2018



The view from 6th and Fairfax. Photo: Bill Counter - March 2018



The 6th St. side of the sphere. Photo: Bill Counter - March 2018


 
Construction of the canopy continues on top. It's a view from LACMA. Photo: Steve Milner - SoCal Historic Architecture on Facebook - November 2018



A view from above. Thanks to Hunter Kerhart for the November 2018 photo. It's a post on the GrowLA Facebook page where you can spin the photo around 360 degrees if you desire as well as pan to the horizon in all directions. That's Fairfax at the bottom of the image.



Looking east. Photo: Hunter Kerhart - GrowLA on Facebook - November 2018


More renderings:


A rendering of the bottom of the sphere from AMPAS that appeared with the September 2017 Curbed L.A. article. There will be an entrance at the bottom, the Geffen Theatre in the middle and an observation deck, the Dolby Terrace, on the top.


A rendering of the Dolby Terrace courtesy of AMPAS.



This rendering from AMPAS looking south toward Wilshire has appeared with many articles including a March 2017 Curbed L.A. piece "Academy Museum's giant glass sphere..."

More information: 


The April 2017 Variety article "Academy Scrambles to Avert Museum Distaster" discussed schedule problems and cost overruns. The illustration is by Alexei Vella for Variety. 

Curbed L.A. has run a number of articles on the project.

The site You Are Here has a facade photo. Wikipedia has articles on the Academy Museum, Miracle Mile and the May Company.

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