Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | Los Angeles, CA

Located in the original, historic, Streamline Moderne May Company building at Wilshire and Fairfax, next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this project restored important historical features of the original 1939 May Company Building, retrofits the interior to house the Academy Museum, and adds a new 45,000 sf, base-isolated, six-and-a-half story, glass, and concrete spherical structure housing the Geffen Theater.

Project Requirements

This unique project required both museum-quality air conditioning and very low sound operation for premium screening theater spaces, both within a nearly 100-year old existing building. A new central heating/cooling plant with heat recovery, custom air handlers, fancoils, VAVs, exposed decorative ductwork and a large outdoor radiant slab are some of the unique features of the HVAC system. The spherical Geffen Theater added the challenge of unique geometry with no corners.

What ACCO Delivered

ACCO was involved in this project from the very beginning of schematic design phase budgeting. Once selected as the HVAC contractor, ACCO’s scope of work for the 300,000 square foot existing May Company building and the new 45,000 square foot Geffen Theater building included three chillers, two cooling towers, three boilers, 12 pumps, 11 air handlers, 95 fancoils, 47 VAVs, two CRAC units and a large radiantly-cooled and heated outdoor terrace.

As the lead MEP coordinator, ACCO ran the BIM process for several months before construction got fully underway. The extensive modeling process was necessary due to the historical nature of the May Company building and the unique shape of the Geffen Theater; both creating challenges for the installing contractors. ACCO’s own duct and pipe fabrication facilities were a key element to the construction, not only for time and cost savings but also by allowing the architects to create exposed mechanical systems that truly became part of the visual design of the space instead of being hidden away. The Museum was completed in 2020 but didn’t open to the public until September 2021 due to the pandemic.

Project Team

Owner: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop / Gensler
General Contractor: Matt Construction
Mechanical Engineer: Buro Happold
Mechanical Contractor: ACCO Engineered Systems