Concerns regarding the environmental sensitivity of George Lucas’ proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago has caused the project to halt, and may even prevent it from being realized. According to a suit filed against the museum by the Friends of the Parks, environmentalists believe that the “mountainous” lakefront proposal, designed by MAD Architects, will disrupt the site’s ecosystem.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Lucas’ hasn’t given up on Chicago yet. However, considering that Lucas wants to see the museum built within his lifetime, the 70-year-old Star Wars director is starting to reconsider a University of Southern California (USC) campus site in Los Angeles.
With criticism forcing progress on MAD’s “mountainous” Lucas Museum to come to a standstill, Frank Gehry has released a statement on the Chicago Tribune urging critics to “take the proper time to review” the museum before dismissing it.
“Chicago is a great city for architecture and has historically supported innovative, forward-looking work. There is a natural impulse to deride a project in the early stages of design, particularly one that has a new shape or expression. This is not a new concept,” says Gehry, citing that both the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall were shrouded in criticism before becoming “great assets to their mutual cities.”
The design for Chicago‘s Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts has been revealed, with MAD Architects unveiling their plans for a sculptural white “mountain,” rising from the site to be topped by a metallic crown. Designed as a landscape that can be approached from all sides, with the main entrance located on a ‘floating’ public plaza accessed via a network of ramps and steps, the building is organized around a central domed lobby and events space, with four stories of gallery spaces, a set of four theaters, and at the top of the building an observation deck and glass-encased restaurant. In a connected, smaller “mountain” are the building’s educational functions, with classrooms, lecture theaters and a library.
Speaking to ArchDaily from Chicago, director of MAD Architects Ma Yansong explained how he wanted the design “to be futuristic but at the same time to be natural,” connecting with the landscape of the waterfront site.
More about the design from Ma Yansong after the break
After the controversy surrounding their rejection by San Francisco and subsequent relocation to Chicago, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts has today announced a team of MAD Architects and Studio Gang as the designers of their new building in Chicago‘s museum district near Northerly Island.
The building itself will be designed by MAD Architects, chosen “because of its innovative approach to design and the firm’s philosophy of connecting urban spaces to natural landscapes.” In this case, that landscape will be designed by Studio Gang, who will also add a bridge to Northerly Island, an area which they have worked on turning into an ecologically diverse urban park.
Before George Lucas found a home for his museum in Chicago, the mayors of other cities were desperately vying for the honor (see Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti above). If they are still disappointed about losing out, a new study about the aftermath of building cultural centers might offer some consolation. To learn about the planning fallacies and negative outcomes often associated with these building types, check out CityLab’s recap.
After being rejected, alongside two other shortlisted proposals, by San Francisco’s Presidio Trust to build a self-tiled cultural arts museum at Crissy Field, George Lucas has turned his attention to the windy city of Chicago. According to a report by the SunTimes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has challenged civic leaders to find an “accessible” site for the proposed 95,000-square-foot Lucas Cultural Arts Museum by mid-May.
“There aren’t museums looking at digital art and the art of storytelling like this. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Chicago,” stated Polk Brothers Foundation CEO Gillian Darlow, co-chair of the project’s task force. “This is a real effort. The city is serious. He’s serious. And the task force is serious.”
This week, just two weeks after the three shortlisted teams submitted their revised proposals for Crissy Field, San Francisco’s Presidio Trust unanimously decided to end the competition. Though the competition raised high hopes over its 14-month duration that the Trust would transform the prominent 8-acre site into a “cultural institution of distinction,” its fate has been left to the “wind,” as the SFGate’s John King reports. This means, neither George Lucas’ self-titled cultural arts museum, WRNS Studio and the Chora Group’s sustainability institute, or the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s “park-based” cultural center will be realized. You can view each of the rejected proposals here and more details on the cancelation here.
With the news earlier this year that San Francisco‘s Presidio Trust was planning a new cultural centre on the former site of a military base, now a national park, further details have emerged on the three finalists. The competition has attracted proposals from George Lucas (for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum), WRNS Studio and the Chora Group (for ‘The Bridge’), and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (for the Presidio Exchange). Each proposals offer different visions for the eight acre site, the ex-military building of which currently hosts the retailer Sports Basement.
San Francisco is planning a new cultural facility on the former commissary of the military base that has been turned into a national park and has announced three finalists in its competition held by the Presidio Trust, according to news outlet SFGate. The 92,000 square-foot building is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and has an ambitious future that will be developed on this unique location. The three finalists have diverse agendas that range from turning the future cultural center into a performance and exhibition space to an institute that focuses on sustainability issues. The Presidio Trust is currently laying out guidelines in the next step of the competition that will likely be due in the fall. The trust also plans to engage the public with a to-be-scheduled forum in June that will host presentations by the finalists.
Join us after the break for a look at the three finalists.
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We invite you to enjoy this magnificent film and let us know your comments below!
For 25 years, George Lucas has had a problem. He’s been the Darth Vader of an evil developing empire.
Or so say his wealthy California neighbors. Since 1978, when he set up his corporate headquarters, Skywalker Ranch, on his property in Lucas Valley, Lucas has been attempting to get plans approved for a 300,000 square foot movie studio (which, while massive, would preserve 95% of the acreage and include plans to restore the topography). He’s been blocked by his anti-business, NIMBY neighbors every step of the way.
But far more interesting than Lucas’ defeat, is his plan for revenge.
Read More on how George Lucas is striking back on his NIMBY neighbors, after the break…