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.”

“The work presented for the Lucas Museum has precedent…The use of rooftops as public space has precedent in the Malmo Concert Hall in Sweden by SnohettaZaha Hadid has used flowing forms in many of her projects to great effect. If we go even further back, Eric Mendelsohn was using organic forms to create his masterpieces such as the Einstein Tower in Germany.

“I would hope that the people of Chicago take the proper time to review the Lucas Museum. I also hope that they will give the client and the architects sufficient time to develop the project — to work with the city and the public to evolve the design.

“Please do not dismiss it because it doesn't look like something you've never seen before.”

Courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts

Following a lawsuit filed by The Friends of the Parks that claims the waterfront site cannot be developed without State approval, a Federal judge has temporarily suspended the project from moving forward. However, as reported on the Chicago Tribune, the city plans to file for dismissal in December. The opposition has 30 days to respond.

Star Wars director George Lucas has commissioned the Chinese practice to design a museum that, as MAD director Ma Yansong describes, is both "futuristic" and "natural," connecting with the landscape of the waterfront site. You can learn more about the project's design, here.

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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "Gehry Sides with MAD, Defends Lucas Museum from Critics" 26 Nov 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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