Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Breaks Ground for New Headquarters Building

Article excerpt

After many years of planning, construction is formally started on a beautiful modern structure to house all Academy facilities

While a crowd of Hollywood motion picture celebrities looked on, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences broke ground on September 18 for its new seven-story headquarters in Beverly Hills, California. The cost of the new building will be in excess of $3 million, and completion is scheduled for Fall, 1974.

Site of the glass-facade structure is the northeast corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Almont Drive, with 150-foot frontage on both streets.

The new facility will include a 1,100-seat theater, 85-seat projection room and four floors of office space. One full floor will be devoted to the Margaret Herrick Library. There also will be one level of parking under the building.

According to Academy President Walter Mirisch, the new building is a reflection of the broadening scope of the Academy's activities: "Although the Academy Awards presentation continues to be the single most visible aspect of our organization, our new facility will enable us to continue making significant advances in our cultural activities and services to our members and the film community at large. We are also pleased that our library, considered by many to be the finest collection of its kind in the world, will now have adequate space and equipment to serve our members, film researchers and the public."

Mirisch pointed out that many of the Academy's 3,800 members, who are among the world's leaders in film science and technology, have played an active consulting role in the facilities planned for the new building. He also paid special tribute to Daniel Taradash, who, as president of the Academy for the past three years, "turned this building from a ten-year dream into the reality we are beginning to realize at today's groundbreaking ceremony."

In his remarks to those gathered for the ceremony, Mirisch said:

"A long time ago the philosopher Plato met with his followers in a grove of trees outside of Athens. That grove was known as the Academy and ever since then, a society of /earned men and women united to advance an art or science has been known as an academy. And so the craftsmen of this nation's only native art form, the motion picture, have also united; united to elevate the stature of their profession, to recognize noteworthy achievements, and to encourage the scientific, technical and artistic advancement of their calling.

"Today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences closes the book on one chapter of its history, and opens the covers of another. Since its founding in 1927, the Academy has carried on its activities in four separate facilities. We have been in our present location since 1946 and the years since then have seen major growth and change in our industry. During these years the Academy has played a leading role in advancing the art and science of the motion picture. But inevitably our present physical facilities have neither matched the strides of our industry nor of the Academy.

"For the past decade, in appreciation of the need for suitable facilities to match its functions and its ambitions, the Academy has sought a new home. Under the presidencies of Gregory Peck and Dan Taradash, that search accelerated until today when we mark the end of that quest. …