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Academy Picks Uber-Architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali to Design Museum of Motion Pictures

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 30, 2012 at 12:32PM

Clearly, one way that new Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and departing AMPAS president Tom Sherak are establishing their legacy is by pushing forward with their Academy Museum of Motion Pictures initiative at LACMA.
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Zoltan Pali
Zoltan Pali
Renzo Piano
Renzo Piano

Clearly, one way that new Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and departing AMPAS president Tom Sherak are establishing their legacy is by pushing forward with their Academy Museum of Motion Pictures initiative at LACMA.

They have now hired world renowned uber-architects Renzo Piano (The New York Times headquarters) and L.A.-based Zoltan Pali (Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts) to design the Academy Museum.

"Renzo’s track record of creating iconic cultural landmarks combined with Zoltan’s success in transforming historically-significant buildings is a perfect marriage for a museum that celebrates the history and the future of the movies," said Hudson.

LACMA chief Michael Govan has a relationship with Piano, who designed the expansion of the museum; the new Academy Museum will use the historic art moderne 1939 LACMA West building on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax once owned by the May Company. Piano was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1998; he's the founder of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, which has offices in Paris, Genoa and New York. Piano also designed the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Central St. Giles Court in London, the Kansai International Airport Terminal in Osaka, and the Menil Collection in Houston.

"We as architects make buildings that are portraits that represent our clients," said Piano. "The Academy museum will take the visitor through the back door of cinema, behind the curtain, and into moviemaking magic."

The design principal and co-founder of Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a), Pali received a Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Award and an AIA Los Angeles "Next LA" Award. Pali restored the Greek Theatre, the Gibson Amphitheatre, and the Pantages Theatre--which won an LABC Award for Historic Preservation. SPF:a's renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa museum earned SPF:a the AIA Los Angeles Presidential Award.

"It is an honor and privilege to work with the Academy in bringing to life a historic, iconic building that I love with the story of motion pictures," said Pali.

The Museum Committee is composed of Sherak, Academy governors Craig Barron, Jim Bissell, Gale Anne Hurd, Rob Friedman and Robert Rehme, and Academy members Kathleen Kennedy and former president Sid Ganis.

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Awards, Awards


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.