The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has undergone almost as many twists and turns as a Hollywood script since it was unveiled back in 2014. However, after missing its planned 2021 completion date, the ambitious futuristic-looking building is now finally on track for a 2025 opening.
To briefly recap, the Lucas Museum is a passion project by famed filmmaker George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson. Designed by MAD Architects, it was originally envisioned as a bulbous volcano-like building slated for Chicago, then underwent multiple redesigns and legal wrangling over its location before finally settling on its current form in L.A.’s Exposition Park.
Though you could be forgiven for thinking it’s meant to look like some kind of spaceship from one of Lucas’ movies, the museum’s overall design is, like many of MAD’s projects, inspired by nature – in this case the surrounding landscape of the site.
It will be raised above the ground, creating a shaded space for visitors and will also be topped by lush greenery, while the exterior walls will be finished in glazing and over 1,500 curved fiberglass-reinforced-polymer panels. Its vast interior will have a floorspace of 300,000 sq ft (almost 30,000 sq m), spread over five floors, and will host expansive galleries, two theaters, and dedicated spaces for learning and engagement, dining, retail and events.
The museum is situated on an 11-acre (4.45-hectare) landscaped campus and the first of over 200 planned trees are currently in the process of being planted. Other notable features include an amphitheater, hanging garden and a pedestrian bridge.
It will also feature some sustainable design, such as rainwater collection for all the irrigation needed and a large solar panel array to reduce its draw on the grid.
Naturally, the interior will have a treasure trove of artefacts inside too. The collection is reportedly valued at US$400 million and will showcase art from the ancient to the modern, with everything from ancient pottery to modern comic books, movie stills, architectural renderings by big names like Zaha Hadid and, of course, Star Wars ephemera.
“It’s humbling and energizing to see how all aspects of this new public resource are taking shape,” said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, CEO and Director of the museum. “We believe that narrative art can connect us and help shape a more just society. As a result, every element of this institution contributes to that idea – the site is one physical manifestation of that. The campus with its iconic building and arched belly that creates a canopy, coupled with the 200-plus trees taking root in the park, together create another community gathering place with much needed shade for our neighbors and others who will use the site.
“Another manifestation of that idea is the museum’s wonderfully evolving collection of narrative art that features multifaceted perspectives through the stories humans have told throughout history. Through these works, we hope to ignite complex and nuanced conversation that may impact the ways folks understand the world, but perhaps even what they decide to do in the world. We’re thrilled to share this significant progress, and I look forward to keeping the public informed as we forge ahead.”
Source: Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
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