Los Angeles, CA

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures


Designed by Renzo Piano, the new home for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures showcases movie history. The project included a major renovation to the former May Company Building with a striking new spherical addition housing a 1000-seat theater. The museum also offers more than 50,000 sq ft of exhibit space, a second theater, outdoor areas, education space, a restaurant, and a store. SGH consulted on the building enclosure design and fire/life safety strategies.

Building Enclosure. SGH assisted with the design of below-grade and plaza waterproofing, cladding, glazing, and roofing. Highlights of our work on the building enclosure include the following:

  • Investigating the condition of the existing building, recommending remedial measures, and evaluating repair options
  • Assisting with the selection and design of below-grade waterproofing, exterior wall, and roofing assemblies
  • Developing details to integrate the new addition with the existing building and address complex intersections of multiple enclosure systems
  • Providing construction phase services, including reviewing contractor submittals, observing ongoing work, performing independent inspection of below-grade waterproofing, and helping address field conditions

Fire/Life Safety. The theater’s large volume and tall story height required a creative sprinkler layout. SGH’s analysis of the sprinkler locations helped the project team obtain a variance, allowing them to deviate from the spacing and elevation requirements prescribed in NFPA 13 and work around the architectural features. Highlights of our performance & code consulting work include the following:

  • Assessing general compliance with applicable codes and standards
  • Providing guidance on building code and fire/life safety requirements
  • Using computational fluid dynamics to evaluate the atrium smoke control system
  • Developing criteria for built-in exhibits
  • Working with the city and design team to develop the fire access strategy
  • Preparing egress code compliance diagrams, indicating egress route, occupant loads, egress width, and other relevant information

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value


Project Size


New Construction
Building Enclosures | Performance & Code Consulting
Culture & Entertainment
Specialized Capabilities
Roofing & Waterproofing | Fire Life Safety & Accessibility

Key team members

Amy Hackney
Amy Hackney
Building Technology Region Head, West
Ryan  Upp
Ryan Upp
Associate Principal
Nathan Wittasek
Nathan Wittasek