Barring any major legal battles that could put the brakes on the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art planned for Chicago, it's pretty safe to say that the museum itself will be a really cool piece of new architecture. Lucas formally announced that the museum would be coming to Chicago in June, and a month later, the filmmaker unveiled the team that will design the new museum and the surrounding landscape. Beijing-based MAD Architects has been selected to become the principal designer for the new cultural institution while Chicago's own Studio Gang Architects will lead the landscape design and VOA Architects will oversee the construction of the museum. However, the Lucas Museum folks have recently launched a new website, which provides a much better idea of what the museum will really be all about. But let's talk about what the museum might look like.
Chicagoans may be quite familiar with Studio Gang's work, as Jeanne Gang and team have worked on a number of high profile projects in Chicago in recent years including the Aqua at Lakeshore East, the WMS Boathouse at Clark Park and the incredibly ambitious redesign of Northerly Island. And after a quick flip-through of MAD Architects' portfolio, it's exciting to think about what the two teams will be capable of producing.
The name MAD Architects may not ring a bell to a lot of folks in Chicago, but the organization is responsible for some very exciting work, notably the Absolute Towers in Ontario, the Ordos Museum in the Gobi desert and the Sinosteel International Plaza currently under construction in Tinajin, China. The outfit does contemporary very well, and will likely do the Lucas Museum justice. Studio Gang on the overhand, will oversee the sprawling landscape and will also design a bridge that will connect the museum to Northerly Island.
The museum will transform 17 acres of parking lots just south of Soldier Field into one of the city's most exciting museums and tourist destinations. The entire project, including endowment is expected to cost somewhere in the range of $700 million - $1 billion, and Lucas is paying for everything out of pocket. Sure, Lucas is making a huge financial commitment to the the city, and sure, the city is meeting him half way on providing public land for the museum, but with the museum gaining momentum, it is time to show this project a little more respect and finally drop the whole "Star Wars Museum" moniker already. It's going to be awesome.
·Lucas Museum gives most detailed version yet of its vision [Tribune]
·Architectural Team Selected [Lucas Museum of Narrative Art]
·Previous Lucas Museum coverage [Curbed Chicago]