the world's most visited architecture website

MAD's George Lucas Museum Wins Approval in Chicago

The Chicago City Council has voted to approve zoning for George Lucas' controversial, MAD-designed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Planned for a lakefront site on Chicago's Museum Campus park, near the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, the "mountainous" design faced opposition from environmentalists who claim the building is a "confiscation of public land." Despite this, and according to reports on NBC News, the Star Wars director won the Council's approval by promising more parking and tailgating space to Chicago Bears fans.

“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be an incredible addition to Chicago’s Museum Campus,” said Mayor Emanuel in an official statement. “The Lucas Museum will join the 56 other museums in Chicago to provide new cultural and educational benefits for generations to come. And the new parkland will add more open greenspace that will be enjoyed by residents across the city.”   

ARCHIDIRECTOR: A Fantastical City Inspired by Famous Directors by Federico Babina

"Directors are like the architects of cinema," says Federico Babina, an Italian architect known for his imaginative architecture-inspired illustrations. In his latest, Babina envisions a fictional city of 27 houses inspired by film's most celebrated directors, including George Lucas, Charles Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Wim Wenders and many others.

"The architecture is like a scene from a movie where the story is the life, the script is dictated by the use of the building and where the actors are the residents. A labyrinth where all - characters, director, audience –are lost and found in the intensity of their emotions," Babina adds. 

Tour through the entire city, after the break. 

© Federico Babina © Federico Babina © Federico Babina © Federico Babina

George Lucas Unveils Plan for Bay Area's Largest Affordable Housing Project

What some believe to be an act of revenge, George Lucas has unveiled plans to build the San Francisco Bay Area's largest affordable housing project in the wealthy community of Marin County. As CBS reports, the news comes just three years after valley residents shot down Lucas' proposal to develop the land with a 265,000-square-foot production studio. The new plan aims to provide veterans, firefighters, teachers and other service-oriented working class people with 224 low-income homes. 

"We’ve got enough millionaires here. What we need is some houses for regular working people," said Lucas, according to his lawyer Gary Giacomini who also ensured that the plan was "not a form of retaliation."

George Lucas May Reconsider Los Angeles as Potential Home of Self-Titled Museum

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. 

Gehry Sides with MAD, Defends Lucas Museum from Critics

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.”

MAD Architects Unveils Mountainous Design for Lucas Museum in Chicago

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

MAD Architects + Studio Gang Selected for Chicago's George Lucas Museum

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.

New Study Discredits Bilbao Effect

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

George Lucas Looks to Chicago

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. 

Presido Trust Rejects Shortlisted Proposals, Calls Off Competition

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

San Francisco's Chrissy Field Proposals Released

The Bridge © Wrns, WRNS via SFGate. Image
The Bridge © Wrns, WRNS via SFGate. Image

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.

Films & Architecture: “THX 1138”

The first film of George Lucas is without any doubt a master piece in terms of how to represent futuristic spaces. In THX 1138 the underground spaces are absolutely controlled. People’s behavior is driven by different drugs depending on the physical effect required. The movie contained a catalogue of spatial experiences and explore new forms of spaces that are many years forward the ’70 ideas.

We invite you to enjoy this magnificent film and let us know your comments below!

George Lucas' Development Woes: When NIMBY Goes BANANAs

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…