As beautiful as Chicago is, emphasis on beautiful, one natural landform the city is missing is a mountain. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a mountain overlooking the skyline?
Well, we’re about to get our first mountain… sort of.
MAD Architects revealed the first look at the designs for the Lucas Museum, set to be the newest addition to Chicago’s Museum Campus on the lakefront. MAD aimed to be “futuristic but at the same time to be natural” with their design being a natural fit with its namesake — George Lucas, famed creator of Star Wars.
I think they succeeded as you can simply tell from the renderings above. The white, curvacious “mountain” not only stands out on its own, but also amongst the other museums along Lake Michigan. Its close proximity to Soldier Field actually creates a cool transition from the older, Ionic columns of the Field Museum, to the renovated Soldier Field that retains their classical columns with the modern “UFO” addition, to the soon-to-be-constructed Lucas Museum that is full on futuristic. I love the bold, radical designs for their aesthetics, but perhaps even moreso for its progressive statement in a city whose architecture continues to highly evolve.
Flat out, just these images of the Lucas Museum ignite the imagination, and that’s without seeing the interior, described very vividly in the ArchDaily interview with MAD Architects director Ma Yansong that accompanied the release of today’s renderings. Yansong gave a ton of amazing quotes and insight about the design. It’s a must-read if you’ve taken the time out to arrive on this page.
When people enter the building they will arrive on the dome level, and they will see this huge space with natural light coming down from the top.
One of the most mainstream stories in architecture this summer was where George Lucas was going to decide to put his museum to hold his collection of illustrations and pop art, with reported estimated worth at $1 billion dollars. Last month, Lucas, who is from the Bay Area, nixed a site by the Golden Gate bridge and awarded it to his “second home” of Chicago.
Today, Lucas publicized his architectural dream team headlined by the hometown’s Jeanne Gang, principal of Studio Gang, and Ma Yansong of Beijing’s MAD Architects (and designer of the “Marilyn Monroe Towers” in Toronto, pictured above). Lucas is also enlisting another Chicago firm, VOA Architects, to be the museum’s executive architect. The Trib’s Blair Kamin reports that, “while Ma and Gang focus on the broad creative strokes, VOA will be responsible for details like construction drawings.” Also, through his spokeswoman, Devon Spurgeon, Lucas interviewed fewer than 10 firms from around the world for the museum with UNStudio the runner-up.
I’m particularly excited for the collaborative project as, not even a fan of Star Wars (I know, I know), but rather to see how Yansong and his team design the building in synchronization with how Studio Gang forms the landscape around the museum. Plus, Gang and her team will be adding a pedestrian bridge linking the museum to their ongoing ecological transformation of Northerly Island (which I covered more in-depth recently as part of a larger piece here).
Conceptual designs for the George Lucas museum are expected later this year, but to hold over the reader that clicked hoping to see said designs, here is the latest from Studio Gang — new renderings released this month of the beautiful 400-ft residential Folsom Square Tower planned for downtown San Francisco (more info here).
A fun tidbit to think about today: 2Pac could have been cast as Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode I. Says former collaborator and chief engineer of Death Row Records, Rick Clifford, in a new interview with 2-PacForum.com:
[Tupac] was telling me that he was supposed to read for George Lucas and [Lucasfilm]. They wanted him to be a Jedi.
No official comment from LucasFilms, but c’mon, this one’s fun to believe it’s true. And yes, that’s Hologram Tupac photoshopped as a projection from R2D2 (h/t CoS).