The Real Deal Los Angeles

Academy Museum shakeup: AMPAS switches builders amidst construction

MATT Construction will now take lead on final Renzo Piano-designed phase
March 27, 2017 02:30PM

Rendering of Academy Museum (AMPAS)

A number of delays have pushed back the expected completion date of the Academy Museum of Motion Arts and Sciences’ new museum. Now, in the midst of construction, the Academy has changed builders.

It announced Saturday that it has switched construction companies, hiring on new builder MATT Construction, which will take the lead on the project starting June 1.

Construction began a year ago on the site of the former 1939 May Co. building on the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Morley Builders and Taslimi Construction were hired to renovate the building and add a spherical structure to serve as a 1,000-seat theater. But as the builders near completion on the first phase — focused mainly on demolition, excavation and the structural renovation of the May Co. building — they have been kicked to the sidelines for the most architecturally signifiant part of the project.

MATT will lead the next phase that includes building out a spherical theater designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, an Academy spokesperson said. Morley and Taslimi will stay on in a less central role, handling the project’s concrete work.

The museum was expected to open late last year but the date was repeatedly pushed back. The Academy now says it will open in the spring of 2019. To pay for the project, the Academy launched a $300 million capital campaign in 2012, eventually raising the goal to $388 million.

“These kinds of projects evolve, to a certain extent, because the design architect is just drawing a sketch on paper at the beginning,” Rich Cherry, the museum’s COO, told THR. “We always knew that this would be a difficult build.” [THR] — Subrina Hudson