Now I have a new location for my pilgrimage to become an architectural Jedi (having worked at VOA Associates in Chicago for 6 months back in 2006), as the Chicago City Council recently voted to approve zoning for George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art, designed by MAD. The project site is located along the lakefront area on Chicago’s Museum Campus park, near the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, and the project was deemed controversial by environmentalists’ claims that the building’s “mountainous” design would be a “confiscation of public land.” However, according to NBC News, the Star Wars director won the Council’s approval by promising more parking and tailgating space to fans of “Da’ Bears“.
Due to the original controversy, MAD’s original design concept was scaled down this past September in order to create a smaller footprint that allowed more green space. The project is now at 300,000 square-feet and 136-feet-tall, and according to architect Ma Yansong said that the dune-shaped building is designed to “merge into the land,” allowing the project to be “organic,” and work “well with the water and the landscape and the green space.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in an official statement:
“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be an incredible addition to Chicago’s Museum Campus. The Lucas Museum will join the 56 other museums in Chicago to provide new cultural and educational benefits for generations to come. And the new parkland will add more open greenspace that will be enjoyed by residents across the city.”
Lucas Museum of Narrative Art President Don Bacigalupi stated:
“We are very pleased with [Wednesday]’s approval by the City Council. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be a tremendous educational and cultural amenity for all Chicagoans, and a major addition to the city’s vibrant and renowned artistic community. It will also deliver nearly 200,000 square feet of new green space and accessible parkland along the lakefront for all to enjoy. We are excited to move forward with the Museum’s construction.”
Should the permit process go smoothly, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will open its doors in 2019.