renzo piano + zoltan pali: academy museum update
renzo piano + zoltan pali: academy museum update renzo piano + zoltan pali: academy museum update
apr 14, 2013

renzo piano + zoltan pali: academy museum update

upon realizing the initial goal to collect $100 million USD, the academy of motion picture arts and sciences has announced its plans for the new, and first, ‘academy museum of motion pictures’ in beverly hills, designed by italian architect renzo piano and local architect zoltan pali. the 300,000 square-foot structure will be the result of a revitalization of the historic may company wilshire building in los angeles, restoring the facades which face wilshire and fairfax streets amidst the los angeles county museum of art campus.


originally constructed in 1938 and left vacant for the past 20 years, the addition of exhibitions, gallery spaces, screening rooms, an interactive education center and demonstration laboratories will weave the building back into LA’s urban and cultural fabric. the collection will feature over 140,000 films, 10 million photos, 42,000 original film posters, 10,000 production drawings, props, costumes, equipment and behind-the-scenes personal accounts from artist and technical innovators to illustrate the rich history of cinema and its constant development.


update: on april 13, 2014, we updated the original article published on october 19th, 2012 with additional images and drawings below to further illustrate the structure.

interior illustration of premier theater
image courtesy of the academy



‘the design for the museum will finally enable this wonderful building to be animated and contribute to the city after sitting empty for so long, I am very inspired by the academy’s name and mission, the idea of the arts and sciences working together to create films. our design will preserve the may company building’s historic public profile while simultaneously signaling that the building is taking on a new life that celebrates both the industry and art form that this city created and gave to the world.‘ — renzo piano

rooftop terrace
image courtesy of the academy

special events dining room
image courtesy of the academy

entrance from the LACMA campus
image courtesy of the academy


site plan

floor plan / level 0



approach from the street

large iconic dome on the backside of the structure

the scale and character of the original building is restored, paying homage to the history of film




  • Phew, those are some of the worst visualisations I\’ve seen in a long time.

    bill says:
  • The facade with the cylinder and small windows looks like a mishap from an era in the previous century.

    Airborne says:
  • I like the concept though hard to grasp what is going on in the rear with the non-geodesic sphere thing. Keep us updated…

    mArkW says:
  • the only thing here that\’s the least bit interesting is that these appear to have been hand drawn

    dbkii says:
  • Renzo Piano???????? I can\’t believe it. Tell me it is a bad dream!

    giopezzi says:
  • The facade with the cylinder is a pre-existing building, part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, he is just working in the back. He has 2 more other buildings in the same museum just by this one, I think that if it gets built will be a great addition to the complex.

    ASR says:
  • The half-built Death Star is a nice touch tough

    AJP says:
  • The pre-existing building is the former May Company Department Store.
    Architects were Albert C. Martin & Associates and it was built in 1940.
    The corner ‘cylinder’ is made up of 1″ gold mosaic tiles.
    I do like what appears to be the hand drawn illustrations. Lovely and refreshing.

    Ron Smith says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
492,671 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample