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Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:14 am

From prop to proposal?

 Rahm Emanuel seems determined to see George Lucas’ museum of the visual arts – what one Hyde Parker more accurately describes as “The George Lucas Museum of Perpetual Adolescence” – built on the Chicago lakefront. Chicago is full of go-getters, and VIATechnik, a firm that offers technical services to architects, sponsored ”an unofficial contest to design an appropriate building to house it.


Such contests are a chance for young architects and designers to attract attention if not commissions. The results of this one were announced recently and reported by the essential Lynn Becker on his Architecture Chicago Plus blog. The winner was a recent IIT School of Architecture grad named Mircea Eni. Writes Becker: 

Eni's proposal circumvents the growing controversy over placing the museum on a lakefront site by lifting up the entire building above the landscape.  According to Jury member Mike Ellch of Related Midwest, as the site is on “a museum campus meant to be enjoyed by everybody” the winning design “has a park that is accessible to everyone, and this is very important to this design, that's why we liked it." 


Well, George will never go for it. He’s an old-fashioned guy. I’m inclined to agree with James Pallister of Architects Journal, who in 2009 wrote


Star-Wars creator and amateur architect George Lucas has been accused of rather too closely following the designs of media magnate William Randolph Hearst’s ‘Xanadu’ Castle. He should have looked closer to home for inspiration: his Star Wars films are full of wonderful architecture.


Architects’ Journal selected what it regarded as the top ten Star Wars buildings, several of which have “inspired” actual structures. One not cited by the magazine was Aldera, the capital city of Alderaan, which, as it happens, stood beside (or rather inside) a lake. 


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