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Los Angeles and San Francisco are competing to play host to George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art, which comes with a site-specific design by Ma Yansong.
If you are George Lucas and you have to choose a site for your museum, would you pick the Rebels or the Empire? I mean, Los Angeles or San Francisco?
The Star Wars creator has been looking to build a museum for his art collection for several years. And the saga has nearly as many sequels as Star Wars itself.
Los Angeles had offered up the LA Memorial Sports Arena site back when Lucas had his eye on the Presidio in San Francisco, with a design the San Francisco Chronicle described as a “mock-classical temple.”
Then Lucas pulled out of San Francisco, and focused on Chicago. He also switched to a much more futuristic design by the young Chinese architect Ma Yansong, founder of MAD Architects.
“I wanted somebody who was very leading edge, somebody who designed digitally because the third part of the museum is about digital art. So he’s a very avant-garde Chinese architect, he’s very brilliant, he’s never made anything in the United States,” Lucas told Charlie Rose in 2014.
As it turns out, Ma Yansong, builder of massive developments shaped to echo forms of nature, has an office right here in Los Angeles. And now he has a project under construction — a condo and retail building in Beverly Hills that has a surreal charm because its dwellings and trees are raised above the ground floor shops, like a tiny town hoisted into the sky.
For Chicago, Yansong designed a museum within an artificial hill which he described two years ago to DnA.
“I think our building is very unfamiliar for our society now. Our building is not a stand alone object. It’s an environment, I would say. But I think people watch Star Wars as an inspiration. A lot of young people, they become very curious about what is possible,” Yansong told DnA in 2014. Contemporary architecture, he said, should show people “what the future of architecture can be.” […]