Rarely has there been such a kerfuffle over the selection of a site for a museum, but it appears that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has finally found its forever home. The MAD Architects-designed project is now due to be built in Exposition Park, Los Angeles.
To recap, the museum was first slated for a galaxy far, far away – well, Chicago – a couple of years ago, required a redesign, was rejected and then seemed to be back on track before finally relocating to California amid acrimony. The question then became whether LA or San Francisco would be chosen for the new site. Ultimately, LA won out.
The original design has been altered from a rather awkward looking silver volcano-like structure to a more streamlined building with flowing curves and a greenery-clad roof that should be a far better fit for the local landscape. It's hard to tell at this stage, but having already proven itself with the somewhat similar Harbin Opera House, we're of the mind that MAD Architects could potentially make something special.
While details are still thin on the ground, we do know that the museum is funded out of Lucas' own deep pockets and will cost at least US$1 billion. It will comprise around 275,000 sq ft (25,548 sq m) of floorspace, including approximately 100,000 sq ft (9,290 sq m) of gallery space. Underground parking will accommodate roughly 1,800 vehicles and the site will include up to 7 acres (2.8 hectares) of green space.
Inside, it will host George Lucas' own collection of paintings, artworks and memorabilia, and feature daily screenings, exhibitions, public lectures, and workshops. There will be a restaurant, multiple high-end theaters, a cafe, lecture halls, a library, a cafe, and a museum store.
We've no word yet on when construction is expected to commence, so naturally, given the museum's history, we wondered if any unexpected issues with planning permission or the like could again scupper Lucas' plans, but an enthusiasticstatement by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti suggests this is unlikely.
"LA is gaining a new jewel with the breathtaking Lucas Museum of Narrative Art — and its presence here means that a day at Exposition Park will soon bring unrivaled opportunities to be immersed in stories told on canvas and celluloid, be moved by the richness of African-American history and expression, be awed by the wonders of science and the natural world, take a journey to the world of space exploration, and sit in the stands for a world-class sporting event," says mayor Garcetti.
"I believed in the vision for the Lucas Museum, and we went after it with everything we have — because I know that LA is the ideal place for making sure that it touches the widest possible audience. I am deeply grateful to Mellody and George, and to our educational, governmental, and cultural leaders for their extraordinary support in helping us bring the museum home. Now it's time to build the vision."