The Force is strong with George Lucas! After years of negotiations, controversies and numerous protests, the proposed idea of George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has received a green light from the Chicago Park District officials who approved a lease of 99 years for the museum site. It is finally safe to say that the works on the construction of the building can begin and the museum could be fully operational by 2019 or 2020, to the delight of the Lucas’ fans. That is if Lucas wins the support of two other departments. But administration can't really stop a man who has shaped the generations of sci-fi enthusiasts all over the globe, right?
Originally planned for San Francisco, the Museum of Narrative Art has gained a support from the city of Chicago and was promised a land near the Lake Michigan. The construction costs and the endowment will be fully funded by the director, and the future museum will be committed entirely to the art of narrative, encompassing artworks spanning all mediums as long as they are focused on the storytelling. However, it is not all. The museum will also feature a variety of works dedicated to the digital art, filmmaking and history of cinema, along with Lucas’ private collection of paintings and illustrations and his movie memorabilia. Except from the permanent exhibitions, the museum will also have an educational program, including various workshops and lectures.
Although, the architectural plans for the museum were already submitted earlier this year the people behind the project were awaiting the final decision from the Chicago city officials. On Wednesday Chicago Park District official unanimously decided to grant the lease of 99 years with renewal options to the Lucas Museum. Due to the complaints about the massiveness of the building and opposition from the environmentalists, the new plans saw the reduction of the initial square footage and the latest design calls for a 300,000 square-foot structure with two-thirds being green spaces. The museum plans were developed by three architectural teams, each of them focusing on the particular aspects of the building and the surrounding landscape.
Even though the museum will be built on the current asphalt site, replacing the old parking lot and bringing new parklands to the terrain, there are those who strongly protest the idea because they just don’t like Lucas and also for environmental reasons, fearing that the new building will do damage to the preservation of the lakefront. Non-profit association Friends of the Parks is among them, and they have sued the district. Their argument is that the new building will diminish the park, even though the land appointed for the museum is currently a parking lot. Paradoxical as it may seem, the project will stay on hold until the lawsuit is resolved and until the city’s Department of Zoning and its Plan Commission approve the lease. The cornerstone has been laid and the future of the Chicago museum building looks bright.
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George Lucas Museum Building Design, Bird's Eye View. Courtesy of George Lucas Museum
G. Lucas with C-3PO on the set of Star Wars. Photo via meatgrinder.co
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