The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art broke ground yesterday in South Los Angeles’ Exposition Park. Designed by MAD Architects’ founder Ma Yansong, the $1-billion, 300,000-square-foot museum will house George Lucas’s extensive collection of art and transform existing parking lots on the site into 11 acres of new green space designed by LA-based landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA.
Ma’s design calls for undulating metal panels to cover the spaceship-like building, which will contain exhibition space, classrooms, two theaters, and a library beneath an expansive roof terrace. “The focus of the museum is to open up people’s imaginations and inspire them to dream beyond what is considered possible,” said Lucas, in a statement.
“Our goal is to create the world’s most inclusive and accessible art museum,” said Mellody Hobson, who co-founded the museum with Lucas, her husband, “a place that brings together people from every walk of life.” The museum’s president, Don Bacigalupi, told the Los Angeles Times that the museum plans to focus on “inclusion and diversity” as it awards construction contracts; general contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie has instructed all trades and subcontractors to work with women-, minority-, and disabled veteran-owned businesses on material and labor supply.
Originally planned for a lakefront site in Chicago, the project was pulled from the city in 2016, following an outcry from residents and a lawsuit from local open-spaces advocacy group Friends of the Parks. What Chicago Tribune architecture critic and RECORD contributing editor Blair Kamin once called “a needlessly massive intruder”, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti touted today as “an architectural wonder, a cultural treasure, and a center of storytelling and creativity at the heart of a reimagined Exposition Park.”
The museum is scheduled for completion in 2021.