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A Look at an Unrealized Design for Chicago’s Now-Doomed Lucas Museum

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The creative concept from OMA represents a thought-provoking glimpse at a future that will never be

All images by OMA

While the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts (LMNA) is officially headed to California after a lawsuit from the Friends of the Parks advocacy group pushed the patience of filmmaker George Lucas beyond his breaking point, the New York branch of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) released its own conceptual design study for the now-dead Chicago museum. While the LMNA’s chosen design by MAD Architects was said to resemble white sand dunes (or melted vanilla ice cream), OMA instead envisioned a bold concept reminiscent of a giant translucent mushroom.

According to Designboom Magazine, the proposal’s exterior consists of "pillows" of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) polymer. The plastic cocoon creates an elevated year-round sky park which would allow for a variety of programing as well as a medium on which to project film. Thanks to its narrow footprint, the proposal adds roughly eight times the public space it occupies. The space around and below the structure’s "stalk" serves as a drive-in movie venue and was likely also designed with Soldier Field tailgating in mind.

Though the proposed LMNA’s site will likely remain a parking lot for the foreseeable future, OMA’s see-through dome certainly represents an unique approach to public place-making and is a thought-provoking exercise in what could have been.