One month after selecting Chicago for the site of his new lakefront museum, Star Wars
director George Lucas has announced the architectural team responsible for bringing his vision to life. Beijing-based MAD Architects
, led by Ma Yansong, will develop the design and overall concept of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
(LMNA). The facility will showcase items from Lucas’s collection of populist art and props from his movies.
Chicago firm VOA Associates
will implement MAD’s design as executive architect on the project. Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang
, another local practice, will design the landscape and create a bridge to connect to the LMNA to Northerly Island.
“We are bringing together some of the top architects in the world to ensure that our museum experience begins long before a visitor ever enters the building,” Lucas said in a news release. “I am thrilled with the architectural team’s vision for the building and the surrounding green space.”
Lucas had considered several different architects for the principal design role — including runner-up UNStudio of Amsterdam — but decided on MAD because of its “innovative approach to design and the firm’s philosophy of connecting urban spaces to natural landscapes,” according to a statement. MAD’s notable projects include the curvaceous Absolute Towers outside of Toronto and the Ordos Museum in the Gobi Desert.
VOA Associates says that it will take the concept design and create a “digital sculpture” that will act as the blueprint for construction. “Each aspect of the museum will be digitally created using technology that enables us to test daylight, create interactive models, and examine how the design performs in different environments, ” VOA chairman and CEO Michael Toolis’s explained.
Lucas originally had proposed the museum, then known as the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, at San Francisco’s Presidio National Park last year. His proposal was one of three considered by the Presidio Trust, but the group abandoned plans
for a cultural facility altogether in March. Although the board of directors invited Lucas to consider an alternative site within the park, he went with Chicago instead after being courted extensively by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The new museum will occupy a 17-acre site that is currently home to parking lots between Soldier Field and McCormick Place. Lucas plans to unveil the design later this year and hopes to open the museum sometime in 2018.