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George Lucas museum concept looks like a spaceship in downtown Chicago

Scheduled to open in 2018 filled with 'Star Wars' creator's personal art and movie prop collection

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Artist's rendering of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago
Artist's rendering of Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago
MAD architects

That's no moon...but the proposed designs for filmmaker George Lucas's art museum in Chicago, Illinois, sure do look otherworldly. The Star Wars creator announced last summer that he'd chosen the Windy City over San Francisco and Los Angeles to be the site of a new building designed to house his vast personal collection of movie props and classic artworks (including some works by famed American painter Norman Rockwell). Now we have an idea of what the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will look like when it's completed for a planned opening in 2018. Beijing architectural firm MAD has unveiled its proposed designs for a sweeping, conical, almost volcanic structure that rises over the shore of Burnham Habor in Lake Michiagn.

The main structure of the museum will be made of a single piece of stone topped by a metal observation deck that appears to "float" in mid-air, providing panoramic views of the skyline and lakefront. Inside will be four levels of circular exhibition space — "infinite loops" as they're called by MAD, perhaps in a nod to Apple's own spaceship-like campus currently under construction. There will also be a restaurant on the top level, according to Fast Company.

While the building's design is sure to turn heads and divide opinions, it's probably not even the most controversial aspect of the project: that would be the location of the site, which will require sinking or removing two large parking lots that fans of the Chicago Bears pro-football team use for tailgating (the Bears play in nearby Soldier Field stadium, which itself underwent a spaceship-like renovation and expansion a few years ago). Still, the Lucas Museum directors have said they'll open the landscaped grass area (designed by Chicago-based firm Studio Gang) up to fans who wish to drink and barbecue, Fast Company reports. And with Lucas providing full funding for construction and lots of community outreach programs planned, it's not hard to imagine the museum quickly attaining both fortune and glory.

Southward view


Southward view
The museum and landscaping seen looking south. (MAD architects)