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.
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