Renzo Piano designs the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the new museum of cinema that explores the science of moviemaking

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is due to open in Los Angeles, at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, in 2020. It will be the world’s premier institution dedicated to exploring the art and science of cinema.

Sphere Building, the glass dome designed by Renzo Piano to expand the spaces of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the new museum of cinema that will open by the end of 2019 in the May Company building, a former shopping mall in Los Angeles

The project, strongly supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (honorary organization founded in 1927 in California to support the development of the national and international film industry, and especially known around the world for the Oscars), was conceived by Renzo Piano Workshop Building architectural firm. The museum will be located in the May Company Building, now Saban Building, a ’30s shopping mall unused for years due to a major earthquake that seriously damaged the structure in 1987.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop has also expanded the spaces of the new museum by creating the Sphere Building, a glass dome that houses a 1,000-seat theater dedicated to film showings, which can also be used for special events, awards and other ceremonies.

In the picture, the tap shoes and portable practice stairs used by Shirley Temple for The Little Colonel (1935) given to her by the actor and dancer Bill “Bojanles” Robinson, who was in the cast with her. In the same picture, the Oscar given to Shirley Temple for the eight films she made in 1934; set chair and standee for Stand Up and Cheer! (1934). Photo by Joshua White, JWPictures / © Academy Museum Foundation

With the Sphere Building, the 6-story museum reaches over 90,000 square meters of surface area. The structure is further enriched by a smaller 288-seat theatre and the rooftop terrace offering views of Hollywood and its hills.

Cinerama slate, donated to the museum by Michael Forman and Cinerama Inc. Photo by Joshua White, JWPictures / © Academy Museum Foundation. Cinerama is a filming and projection system that offers large images on a curved screen

The interior design of the new museum was inspired by its mission: to bring visitors into an avant-garde film center allowing them to experience the backstage of moviemaking through the lens of those who created the motion picture industry, in immersive, experimental, educational and entertaining spaces.

The museum showcases pieces that have never been displayed before, including photographs, scripts and movie production objects

The museum will draw from the collections owned by the Academy, including 12 million photographs, 190,000 film and video assets, 80,000 screenplays, 61,000 posters, 104,000 pieces of production art and 1,600 special collections of film legends such as Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston.

The typewriter used by Joseph Stefano to write the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Gift by Michael Eisenberg, care of “The Estate of Joseph Stefano”, 2016. Photo by Joshua White, JWPictures / © Academy Museum Foundation

The museum also showcases examples of pre-cinema devices, cameras, early and modern projectors, sound, editing and lighting equipment as well as several costumes, including the headdress designed by Adrian and worn by Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (1931), the ruby slippers and the Munchkin soldier’s jacket from The Wizard of Oz (1939).

The munchkin soldier’s jacket, designed by Adrian and used in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Joshua White, JWPictures / © Academy Museum Foundation

Therea are also masks and wigs used by leading make-up artists, liquid makeup and molds used for films such as The Godfather (1972) or The Exorcist (1973).

William Tuttle’s makeup kit. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Gift from the Anita Tuttle Trust, 2008. Photo by Joshua White, JWPictures / © Academy Museum Foundation

The inaugural exhibition will feature objects from cult movies and a tribute to some Hollywood icons

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open with the long-term exhibition Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies, displaying props from cult films such as The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain and Casablanca, and objects such as the typewriter used to write Psycho’s screenplay. This exhibition will also highlight iconic celebrities such as Fred Astaire, Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Poitier, Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe. It will end with a reconstruction of the Stargate Corridor of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies, concept illustration for “The Studio System” gallery. Academy Museum Foundation/Gallery Design, Rick Carter and Gallagher & Associates, Artist Illustration, Erik Tiemens. Sunset Boulevard (1950), ©Paramount Pictures Corporation

The museum will also feature three temporary exhibitions: Transcending Boundaries, an interactive installation created by teamLab, Regeneration, focused on the work of independent African-American filmmakers, and Hayao Miyazaki, dedicated to the master of Japanese animation. [Text Carlotta Russo]

Discover also the UCCA Dune Art Museum, the museum among the dunes of Bohai Bay, China


Installation view of teamLab: Transcending Boundaries, 2017, at Pace Gallery, London, 6 Burlington Gardens ©teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery