Lucas in LA or SF?

John Hill
27. October 2016
Los Angeles concept design (All images courtesy of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art)

Four months after George Lucas ditched plans to build his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago, concept designs by Ma Yansong for sites in Los Angeles and San Francisco have been unveiled.

Lucas decided to go west in June after his proposal for turning a parking lot on Chicago's lakefront into a museum and parkland was met with stiff opposition and a lawsuit that would have delayed its realization, if at all. So the Windy City's loss is the gain of either Los Angeles or San Francisco, two of the cities that immediately expressed interest after this attempt fizzled.

On the surface, both cities are qualified spots for a museum that will focus on movies and other forms of narrative art: Los Angeles is the epicenter of moviemaking, and San Francisco is the home of the Lucasfilm campus. Both city's mayors have announced they'd like to host the museum, going so far as to offer up sites for the building. Only San Francisco previously had the commission, only to turn it down and in turn lead Lucas to Chicago and those ill-fated two years. So of the two, San Francisco might be hungrier for the project.

At this point all we have are concept designs that were unveiled this week. Both are the now distinctive hand of Ma Yansong, head of China's MAD Architects, who Lucas retained as his architect. The proposals' fluid forms recall his design for Chicago, but neither has the verticality of that failed scheme. Instead, the proposal for Los Angeles's Expedition Park notably bridges a street, while the design for San Francisco's Treasure Island is less porous, with large windows and a plaza overlooking San Francisco Bay.

Each proposal is approximately 275,000 square feet, with 100,000 square feet of gallery space. The LA scheme includes underground parking for 1,800 cars and the addition of around seven acres of green space, but similar details are not available for the SF scheme.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Don Bacigalupi, the director of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, indicated that "Lucas is likely to choose a location for the museum in the next two to four months."

Los Angeles concept design
San Francisco concept design
San Francisco concept design

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