Nobody knows yet what it will look like, not even George Lucas himself, but judging by the choice of the architects who will design his museum in Chicago, it’s likely to be as syfy-ey as any of his Star Wars movies, a throwback to the past and a glimpse into the future. Just like the opening crawl in the first episode: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”
Ma Yansong, founder of the Beijing-based MAD Architects and World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader awardee for 2014, has been chosen to design the building for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, while Jeanne Gang, who heads Studio Gang Architects, will do the landscaping around the building and design a pedestrian bridge linking the museum to Northerly Island, a peninsula east of the museum site, the Chicago Tribune reports. VOA Architects, another local firm, has been named the executive architect, which will take care of the details, including the construction drawings.
The choice of Ma as the principal architect was quite a surprise since Lucas has a penchant for traditional designs. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will feature the evolution of moving images from illustration to cinema to digital form. It will house the filmmaker’s collection of more than 500,000 objects, including Star Wars memorabilia and paintings by Norman Rockwell.
According to Lucas, MAD was chosen for its sterling record of innovative projects and its overall philosophy of connecting urban spaces to natural landscapes.
“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,” the filmmaker says. “I am thrilled with the architectural team’s vision for the building and the surrounding green space. I look forward to presenting our design to the Chicago community.”
MAD’s designs include the Absolute Towers in Ontario, Canada (nicknamed Marilyn Monroe Skyscraper because of its swirling, sexy shape), Ordos Museum in China’s Inner Mongolia, and Chaoyang Park Plaza in Beijing.
Ma appeared overjoyed by his selection. “It is a gift to be able to design the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in a city so rich with architectural history. I am humbled and honored to be given this opportunity to create a timeless design that moves and inspires people just like Mr. Lucas’ collection.”
Studio Gang is the designer of the Aqua Tower in Chicago, and was behind the transformation of the city’s airport runway into a green landscape.
“We are excited to build upon our current work and collaborate to create a seamless transition between the museum campus and Northerly Island,” Gang says. “In keeping with the Northerly Island ethos, our design goal will be to create a combined ecological and urban habitat.”
The design will be unveiled later this year, and the museum is expected to be completed in 2018.
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