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The Academy Award Goes to... de Portzamparc

November 13, 2007

By Dianna Dilworth

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has selected the French architect Atelier Christian de Portzamparc to design a new complex for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. It will be located next to the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood, California. As of yet there are no formal design plans for the site, which will span eight acres and preserve existing 1940s-era structures, but the idea is to create a campus of 165,000 square feet of new construction and open spaces that engage their surroundings.

“It is important that this building conforms to the Hollywood location and serves as a new contribution,” de Portzamparc says. “It should be open, where people walking around the neighborhood can discover and experience the museum. Visitors should have an encounter even if they were coming to the area with another purpose.” He adds that motion, both of people in the area and that of motion pictures, will inspire the building’s design elements. The museum will include exhibits about the history of Hollywood and the actors, directors, and producers that have made Tinsel Town what it is.

De Portzamparc, who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1994, is known for his Parisian buildings the Cité de la Musique and Café Beaubourg, as well as the French Embassy building in Berlin and the Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton tower in New York City. The Academy of Motion Picture’s Board of Governors selected him based on the recommendations of its Architect Selection Subcommittee, which included Academy members Charles Bernstein, Jeannine Oppewall, and Steven Spielberg.

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The Academy previously named Gallagher & Associates as the museum’s exhibition design firm and E. Verner Johnson and Associates as the campus master planners. Although it is not yet disclosing the project’s price tag, the Academy is now preparing to enter the public approvals process and expects to begin fundraising efforts next year. Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2009 with a target completion date of 2012.

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