Lucas Museum Taps Chicago Firms Gang, VOA as Part of Design Team

George Lucas announced in June that Chicago would be home to his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA), and he has today revealed the team of architects and designers who will bring his vision to life. Beijing-based MAD Architects will be the principal designers. Chicago-based Studio Gang will design the landscape and create a bridge connecting LMNA to Northerly Island while another Chicago-based firm, VOA Associates, will serve as executive architect and implement the MAD design.


“We are bringing together some of the top architects in the world to ensure that our museum experience begins long before a visitor ever enters the building,” said Lucas, founder of the LMNA. “I am thrilled with the architectural team’s vision for the building and the surrounding green space. I look forward to presenting our design to the Chicago community.”

The LMNA team chose MAD Architects because of its innovative approach to design and the firm’s philosophy of connecting urban spaces to natural landscapes. Ma Yansong, the founder of MAD Architects, will be responsible for the design and overall concept of the LMNA building.
“It is a gift to be able to design the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in a city so rich with architectural history,” said Ma, a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture. “I am humbled and honored to be given this opportunity to create a timeless design that moves and inspires people just like Mr. Lucas’ collection.”

Jeanne Gang is most widely known for her curvaceous residential tower, Aqua, but she has also developed a framework plan for Northerly Island, converting an aborted airport into a wildlife oasis with reefs, a lagoon and other ecological attractions. She will design a bridge connecting the southern tip of the island to the LMNA property and her firm will also lead the landscape design for the project.

“We are excited to build upon our current work and collaborate to create a seamless transition between the Museum Campus and Northerly Island,” said Gang. “In keeping with the Northerly Island ethos, our design goal will be to create a combined ecological and urban habitat.”

VOA Associates, who recently designed Roosevelt University’s 32-story vertical campus in the South Loop will implement Ma’s design. “We will take the concept design and create a digital sculpture that will serve as the blueprint for construction,” said Michael Toolis, Chairman and CEO of VOA Associates. “Each aspect of the museum will be digitally created using technology that enables us to test daylight, create interactive models and examine how the design performs in different environments.”

LMNA won’t simply be a warehouse of Boba Fett and Indiana Jones costumes, or a place for rabid fans of American Graffiti to congregate. The museum’s seed collection, donated by Lucas, features pieces from a variety of media and across a century and a half that have shaped our cultural heritage. As the LMNA puts it, the museum “will be a gathering place to experience narrative art and the evolution of moving images – from illustration to cinema to the digital mediums of the future.”

Photo: John Picken

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