Architecture

Renzo Piano has a ball with eye-catching Academy Museum building

Renzo Piano has a ball with ey...
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' power is partly supplied by a roof-based solar panel array
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' power is partly supplied by a roof-based solar panel array
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' 288-seat Ted Mann Theater will host screenings
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' 288-seat Ted Mann Theater will host screenings
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is expected to open September 30, 2021
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is expected to open September 30, 2021
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' new and old buildings are linked by glass bridges
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' new and old buildings are linked by glass bridges
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere is topped by a viewing point
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere is topped by a viewing point
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' power is partly supplied by a roof-based solar panel array
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' power is partly supplied by a roof-based solar panel array
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' iconic gold cylinder comprises 350,000 individual gold leaf mosaic tiles, of which 35 percent needed replacing
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' iconic gold cylinder comprises 350,000 individual gold leaf mosaic tiles, of which 35 percent needed replacing
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere consists of concrete and steel
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere includes the new 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, which will host major film screenings, previews, and presentations
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The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere includes the new 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, which will host major film screenings, previews, and presentations
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Work is now complete on the Renzo Piano Building Workshop's much-anticipated Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, California. The project involved renovating the iconic 1930s Saban Building on the site, as well as adding a striking new glass and concrete spherical building next to it that resembles a huge snow globe from above.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures project has been in the works since 2012 and also included Gensler, Buro Happold, Atelier Ten and local firm Studio Pali Fekete.

The renovation of the original 250,000 sq-ft (23,225 sq-m) Saban Building saw its eye-catching gold cylinder on its exterior refreshed. It comprises 350,000 individual gold leaf mosaic tiles, of which 35 percent were replaced. In a nice touch, the new tiles were sourced from the original manufacturer in Italy. Limestone from Texas was used to restore the building's facade, and work was also carried out to refresh the interior decor.

The really interesting part though is Renzo Piano's Sphere, which actually takes its place much better next to the old building than a 45,000 sq-ft (4,180 sq-m) concrete and glass addition might be expected to. The Sphere is connected to the old building with a pair of glass and steel bridges. Structurally, it consists of a mixture of precast and reinforced steel concrete, and is topped by a glass dome made up of 1,500 glass panels cut into 146 different shapes in Austria.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere consists of concrete and steel

The glass dome shelters a spacious rooftop terrace area that offers sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills. Descending further into the depths of the spherical building, visitors are presented with a new 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, which will host major film screenings, previews, and presentations.

Elsewhere, back in the old building, there's a smaller 288-seat Ted Mann Theater that will be used for movie screenings only. There are also various exhibition spaces and galleries. These include a history of cinema up to the present day, examples of motion picture technology, costume and production design, makeup and hairstyling, and Oscars statuettes. One exhibit will highlight the works of Japan's Hayao Miyazaki and another will attempt to recreate the feeling of walking onto the stage and accepting an Oscar.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere includes the new 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, which will host major film screenings, previews, and presentations
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' Sphere includes the new 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, which will host major film screenings, previews, and presentations

The project has been awarded the LEED Gold green building standard and reduces its grid-based electricity requirements by employing roof-based solar panels. Low-flow water fixtures are installed, a water reuse system feeds the irrigation for the museum's landscaping, and there are waste reduction programs in place.

Though now complete, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures isn't actually slated to open to the public until September 30. However, a series of virtual online events will be held there from April, including the Oscars ceremony itself on April 26.

Sources: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Academy Museum

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