Editorial Feature

Taking a Look at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures by RPBW Architects

This article will look at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a project by RPBW Architects and Gensler which was completed in 2021. The museum is a great example of repurposing existing commercial acreage to construct something that withstands the test of time.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, RPBW Architects

Image Credit: © RPBW - Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects 

What is the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures?

Los Angeles is known the world over for its important contribution to the cinematic industry. The history of filmmaking in this famous Californian city stretches back over a century, with Hollywood itself having become a byword for filmmaking over the decades.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is located on LA’s famed “Miracle Mile” in the heart of this cosmopolitan metropolis at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. The museum celebrates the history of film, providing a premier destination for movie history buffs visiting LA.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, RPBW Architects

Image Credit: © RPBW - Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects Subject: Light & Shadows : Section Through The ‘ Spine ‘ 

With views of historic Hollywood from the Dolby Family Terrace and the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures both honors the past and provides a focal space for the future of the movie industry. The building is also home to the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater.

Dynamic programs and exhibitions at the museum tell the story of cinema, exploring the cultural, artistic, and social impact of film as well as the technological side of filmmaking.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, RPBW Architects

Image Credit: © Academy Museum Foundation

The museum contains educational spaces, a restaurant, a roof terrace, two movie theaters, project spaces, a store, and an outdoor piazza over seven floors and 50,000 square feet of repurposed and revitalized commercial acreage. A spherical, skyway-connected extension houses both theaters.

Preserving and Breathing Life into Existing Commercial Acreage

The museum breathes new life into a historic building on the Miracle Mile, the Saban Building, formerly the May Company department store. Built in 1939, the building saw architectural additions in 1946.

The Saban Building’s historical significance is well-recognized. An eminent example of the Streamline Moderne style. This art deco style emerged in the 1930s and was inspired by aerodynamic design. Long horizontal lines, curving forms, and even nautical elements are hallmarks of this architectural form.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, RPBW Architects

Image Credit: © Academy Museum Foundation 

Aside from buildings, the style can be seen in the design of automobiles, locomotives, and commercial appliances, giving a sleek, modern impression.

The Saban Building has been recognized by the Los Angeles Conservancy as the finest example of this architectural style still in existence in Los Angeles. The building’s architectural significance led to it being designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1992.

By restoring the building and repurposing it for a new century and beyond, RPBW has conserved the sleek and hopeful aspirations of 1930s architecture and given it a new, cosmopolitan look that marries the traditional and the contemporary, with a forward-looking futuristic angle to the entire project.

About the Architects

RPBW (Renzo Piano Building Workshop) was established by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano in 1981. With more than 140 projects under its belt worldwide, RPBW has offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York.

The studio has been involved in several notable projects across the globe, including The Shard in London, the Agnelli Art Museum in Turin, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Kansai International Airport in Osaka, and the New York Times Building in Manhattan.

Image Credit: © RPBW - Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects 

In Summary

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures represents a new, forward-thinking addition to the design landscape of the LA Metropolitan area’s built environment. Drawing on decades of experience and expertise, RPBW continues to push the design envelope with projects such as this.

Incorporating theaters, educational spaces, a restaurant, a shop, and sweeping views of Hollywood itself, the museum provides a premier space to preserve the history of filmmaking. Furthermore, by repurposing one of the finest examples of 1930s architecture in LA, it preserves architectural history for generations to come.

More from AZoBuild: Looking Forward to the Haikou Xixiu Park Visitor Center by MUDA Architects

Further Reading and More Information

RPBW Architects (website) Academy Museum of Motion Pictures [online] rpbw.com. Available at:

http://www.rpbw.com/project/academy-museum-of-motion-pictures

Stouhi, D (2019) RPBW on the Roles of Architects and What Makes their Office Unique [online] archdaily.com. Available at:

https://www.archdaily.com/920373/rpbw-on-the-roles-of-architects-and-what-makes-their-office-unique

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (website) Homepage [online] Available at:

https://www.academymuseum.org/en/

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Reginald Davey

Written by

Reginald Davey

Reg Davey is a freelance copywriter and editor based in Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Writing for AZoNetwork represents the coming together of various interests and fields he has been interested and involved in over the years, including Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, and Environmental Science.

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