Architecture

Lucas Museum withdraws from Chicago, headed to California instead

Lucas Museum withdraws from Ch...
The museum features MAD's signature design language and vaguely resembles a couple of metallic volcanoes
The museum features MAD's signature design language and vaguely resembles a couple of metallic volcanoes
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The museum features MAD's signature design language and vaguely resembles a couple of metallic volcanoes
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The museum features MAD's signature design language and vaguely resembles a couple of metallic volcanoes

George Lucas has had a sorry old time trying to get his MAD Architects-designed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art built. Unveiled in 2014, it subsequently required a redesign to address concerns over the loss of public land. At this point the project seemed to be on track, but it now transpires that the museum won't be built in Chicago after all.

The museum, which features MAD's signature design language and vaguely resembles a couple of large metallic volcanoes, would have taken up 300,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m) of public space near Soldier Field, Chicago.

Non-profit group Friends of the Parks vehemently opposed the plan on the grounds that public land (currently mostly car parking spaces) should not be used for a private museum. Amid legal wrangling, the group launched a lawsuit halting construction and the museum's team subsequently withdrew the project from Chicago.

"No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot," says George Lucas. "The actions initiated by Friends of the Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government."

Friends of the Parks released the following statement on its Facebook page: "It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of several alternative sites that is not on Chicago's lakefront. That would have been the true win-win."

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will now be relocated to California. The Chicago Tribune reports that Lucas is exploring the possibility of placing the museum on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, or somewhere in Los Angeles. It's not clear at this stage whether or not MAD's vision for the building will need to be altered again.

Source: Lucas Museum via Arch Daily

George Lucas has had a sorry old time trying to get his MAD Architects-designed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art built. Unveiled in 2014, it subsequently required a redesign to address concerns over the loss of public land. At this point the project seemed to be on track, but it now transpires that the museum won't be built in Chicago after all.

The museum, which features MAD's signature design language and vaguely resembles a couple of large metallic volcanoes, would have taken up 300,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m) of public space near Soldier Field, Chicago.

Non-profit group Friends of the Parks vehemently opposed the plan on the grounds that public land (currently mostly car parking spaces) should not be used for a private museum. Amid legal wrangling, the group launched a lawsuit halting construction and the museum's team subsequently withdrew the project from Chicago.

"No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot," says George Lucas. "The actions initiated by Friends of the Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government."

Friends of the Parks released the following statement on its Facebook page: "It is unfortunate that the Lucas Museum has made the decision to leave Chicago rather than locate the museum on one of several alternative sites that is not on Chicago's lakefront. That would have been the true win-win."

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will now be relocated to California. The Chicago Tribune reports that Lucas is exploring the possibility of placing the museum on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, or somewhere in Los Angeles. It's not clear at this stage whether or not MAD's vision for the building will need to be altered again.

Source: Lucas Museum via Arch Daily

5 comments
Gesundheit
This was never simply about a "parking lot". This was about an arrogant billionaire who thought he could trample centuries of lake front protection to build a monument to his ego. Chicago was only chosen after San Francisco rejected this eyesore. The Chicago lake front is unique on the planet. It is only there because previous generations protected the lake shore, going back to Montgomery Ward and the Daniel Burnham plan for Chicago. Lucas didn't bother to check with the locals, or even deign to tell anyone what this meringue pie was that he wanted to plop on our lakeshore. The Friends of the Parks are dedicated to protecting the public trust doctrine that prevents public land from being used for private interests. The law in IL states that public land along the lake shore will remain forever open, clear and free. A billionaire's personal vanity project doesn't fall under what is permitted. The "parking lot" is only such because the parks department hasn't bothered to turn it into green space yet. That will be done. This was a museum nobody here wanted except the mayor and the Lucas family. Our lake front is a priceless resource, unlike the pop culture monument to kitsch that was proposed. Another flaw was the illegal 297 year lease of park land for this monstrosity. FYI, any citizen of IL could have filed a lawsuit, even if Friends of the Parks didn't. And a Federal judge dismissed the mayor's request to dismiss the Friends lawsuit after determining the Friends group had legal standing to do so. There were plenty of other locations where this museum could have been built that were more accessible and without all the fuss. The Lucas family demanded a lake front site. The people of Chicago neither needed nor wanted this ridiculous museum. Even arrogant billionaires don't always get what they want. For the record, that petulant mantrum Lucas gave was about the extent of the effort he put in to communicating with the people of Chicago. Last, but not least, you'll notice there hasn't been any outcry over George's monument to himself being built elsewhere. Good riddance!
DDHawk
Rightfully back to California, where innovation is encouraged, fostered & relished....Lucas has made the right decision & will be warmly received here in CA ;)
Madlyb
@Gesundheit So...a Museum is a private interest? I think the Field or the MCA would very much disagree. I am glad you stood up for your principles and chased this ne'er do well out of town...with his privately funded tourist and education facility that would have attracted additional dollars and investment to a town sorely in need. Enjoy your parking lot...with a view.
Robert in Vancouver
Another great victory for the 'don't build anything anywhere' lunatics.
Calson
Right, better to waste public land for privately owned motor vehicles that contribute so much to global warming and climate change. Parking lots have less than a 10% utilization factor in the USA and it would be even lower if public transit in this country had not declined in the last 60 years thanks in no small part to the collusion of General Motors, Standard Oil, and Firestone Tire with their successful efforts to destroy the trolley car systems in 25 major cities. Who says crime does not pay.