The film academy on Wednesday drummed up excitement for its forthcoming museum on the Miracle Mile, releasing a batch of new renderings, giving the press a tour of the construction site next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and announcing a $50 million donation from philanthropists Cheryl and Haim Saban.
That donation brings the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences close to three-quarters of its new fundraising goal of $388 million. In honor of the Sabans, the museum’s main building—the old May Company at Fairfax and Wilshire—will bear their name.
Pritzker-Prize winner Renzo Piano and architecture firm Gensler are restoring and reworking the Streamline Moderne-style department store built in 1939 to house a 288-seat cinematheque and spaces for exhibitions, an entire floor devoted to an “Oscars experience,” restaurants, and special events.
The Saban Building will connect via three glass bridges to an eye-catching, 130-foot tall sphere, the bottom of which will be encased in panels of precast concrete and house a swanky theater. The top will be sheathed in glass and serve as an observation deck looking out over the Hollywood Hills.
When it opens in 2019, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will finally give Los Angeles a permanent museum to celebrate and explore the history and art of films and filmmaking. The collection includes millions of photographs and hundreds of thousands of films, screenplays, posters, and production and costume design drawings.
Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucas Film, said Wednesday that it was unbelievable that Los Angeles doesn’t already have a motion picture museum.
“We should have the world's most preeminent motion picture museum, and now we have the opportunity to have that,” she said.
For the new renderings, scroll down.