The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Formally Opens Its Magnificent New Headquarters

American Cinematographer, February 1976 | Go to article overview

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Formally Opens Its Magnificent New Headquarters


After waiting almost half of a century, the Academy finally moves into a handsome new homo that is worthy of its prestige

A 48-year dream came true in fabulous fashion on Monday evening, December 8, 1975, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' magnificent new seven-story, $4.2 million home in Beverly Hills was dedicated with a star-studded VIP/press champagne reception. Hollywood luminaries, obviously bursting with industry pride, turned out in force to celebrate the long-overdue event. Academy members were invited to attend similar ceremonies on the four following nights.

A highlight of the headquarters is the 1,111-seat Samuel Goldwyn Theater,, said to be the finest facility of its kind, and custom-designed to accommodate the presentation of every presently anticipated technological advance in filmmaking for at least a quarter of a century.

Located in Beverly Hills, the sevenstory, 82,235-square-foot structure, with a mirror-glass facade and naturalcolor textured masonry walls, was built by Buckeye Construction Co.

In addition to the theater, the new building contains administrative offices, staff areas for the production of Academy publications, an 80-seat screening room and a major film industry research library. Other features are a Grand Lobby which can double as a reception area for catered theater parties, smokers' patio, editing room and anti-intrusion and fire detection systems.

It is the first time in the 48-year history of the Academy that all of its facilities have been located under its own roof.

The Samuel Goldwyn Theater will be used by the Academy's members to screen works in an ideal film-viewing situation. All aspects of the theater's design, including the screen, seat placement, sound system, acoustics, projection room and equipment, have been custom-designed to make the theater the finest possible facility for screening films. Many Academy members - who number among their ranks many of the leading motion picture craftsmen and technicians - played major roles in the design and related aspects of the theater.

The Academy's Margaret Herrick Library occupies two floors of the new building and contains more than 9,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals about the movie industry, over 500,000 still photographs and in excess of 40,000 production files. It is generally acknowledged to be the most complete film-related library in the world. Its facilities are available without charge to the membership, students, press, studio research departments, and other libraries.

Maxwell Starkman, A.I.A., Beverly Hills, was the architect, and Harold Levitt, A.I.A., Los Angeles, the architectural consultant. The interior was designed by Dale Mickelson and Associates, Los Angeles.

In the planning stages for more than ten years, the new headquarters was a project of the Academy's building committee, with Daniel Taradash as chairman and Hal Wallis as cochairman. Academy President Walter Mirisch presided over the gala dedi"jjation ceremonies, attended by Oscar winners, other stars, motion picture executives and civic leaders.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a non-profit organization composed of more than 3,800 motion picture performers and craftsmen. It was founded in 1927 to advance the arts and sciences of motion pictures, and is best known for its annual Oscar presentations.

A compilation of film clips from each of the 47 films voted the Academy Award for Best Picture was screened as part of the week-long dedication ceremonies of the Academy's new building.

Until now, there has been no compilation of the films voted the golden Oscar for Best Picture. The project of assembling, editing and preparing this presentation, titled "AND THE WINNER IS ...", from these 47 pictures, was directed by Richard Patterson. Patterson produced and directed "The Academy Presents Oscar's Greatest Music", an ABC-TV special which aired November 25; a film biography of Charles Chaplin; and has compiled several film montages for previous Academy Award telecasts. …

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