Academy Museum of Motion Pictures


Los Angeles, CA


Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Design Architect

Renzo Piano Building Workshop




2022 | LABJ Commercial Real Estate Gold Award, Architectural Excellence

2022 | Architectural Digest's Works of Wonder

2022 | LA Conservancy Preservation Award, Chair's Award

2021 | ENR Global Best Project Award of Merit, Cultural Worship

2021 | Glass Magazine Awards, Best Feat of Engineering

2021 | SCDF Design Award, Engineering Excellence

2021 | Glass Magazine Awards, Project of the Year

2021 | AIA LA Building Team of the Year

2021 | LABC Architectural Award, Chairman's Award

2021 | Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, Best Theater

2019 | California Preservation Foundation Design Award, Craftmanship

Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Gensler, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of filmmaking.

The team restored and transformed the historical 1939 May Company Building, renamed the Saban Building, which encompasses more than 190,000 sqft of gallery and exhibition space, event venues, restaurant and retail space, education labs, offices, conservation facilities, and the 300 seat Ted Mann Theater. Keeping the original character of the former department store’s Wilshire façade, the team sourced new limestone from where the original stone was quarried, as well as rehabilitated the black granite, gold tile and bronze doors. The interior of the building was retrofitted, and a glass curtain wall replaced the north façade of the Saban Building.

Tethered to the museum by three bridges, a 28,000 sqft precast concrete and glass sphere houses the state-of-the-art, 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater that floats above an active plaza on a series of base isolator piers. Perched atop the sphere, a glass-enclosed terrace and exhibition space invites the public to enjoy spectacular panoramic views, providing a unique and memorable visitor experience. Extensive supports and birdcage scaffolding held the structure in place until the final piece of glass was locked together like the keystone of an arch.

Photo credit:

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photos by Iwan Baan/©Iwan Baan Studios, Courtesy Academy Museum Foundation

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photos by Joshua White, JWPictures/©Academy Museum Foundation