Sunday, February 25, 2018
Text Size

MCAC Site Search

Hollywood Museum


Madame Tussauds Hollywood Museum incorporates concrete masonry to extend its versatility and practicality, helping to broaden the definition of sustainability to include, economy, environment, and architecture.

Masonry Concepts, Inc.
Dana Kemp, Owner-President

Madame Tussauds Hollywood Museum
Architect’s Commentary: Hollywood Boulevard is one of the most famous and architecturally diverse streets in the world. It is a linear public space used by the greatest number of tourists in the city. Our project, Madame Tussaud’s Museum, adjoins the Iconic Chinese Theater, which attracts 4 million tourists each year. Our two primary objectives were to create additional public space and to complement the historical Theater with a contemporary aesthetic and an inviting building. JAG | RoTo continually negotiated with citizens groups, client, elected officials, and contractors to achieve this. The finished building looks like the original rendering. The clients program required a ‘black box’ solution on this very active site. How could we make a solid box as interesting and attractive as this site required?

Why Masonry? We decided for practical and aesthetic reasons to use concrete masonry units (CMUs). Concrete masonry has been a material that we’ve worked with for many years, experimenting with pattern, color, and shape. Our first experiment with CMUs was in 2000 for the La Jolla Playhouse, another black box theater. We tested ways of using ‘corbelling’ and ‘rotation’ techniques to give shape and movement to the big blank surfaces intercepting light in unexpected ways, amplifying the shadow patterns and thus, holding the interest of people passing by. Madame Tussaud’s Museum was a continuation of our CMU experiments with hyperbolic surfaces, patterns, and color. The scale of the walls enhanced the dramatic effects. To test our formal ideas we built both physical and digital models and then did full scale mock ups on site to improve the techniques, study joint types and patterns. The Madame Tussaud’s Museum project is our most advanced use of CMUs to date. We have not completed our investigations and will continue to explore its limits. People are surprised to see the plasticity and lightness of an inherently heavy material. This triggers their imagination and their desire to talk about things that would not normally interest them. Finally, concrete masonry is unique in its versatility and practicality, helping us broaden the definition of sustainability to include, economy, environment, and architecture. Source:

About Masonry Concepts, Inc.
Masonry Concepts was founded in 1983 by three individuals with more than 75 years of construction experience between them. The single-minded goal was to provide their customers the highest quality masonry, on time and within budget.

Login Form