A federal court judge has suspended work on the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art after a local parks protection group launched proceedings against the city claiming that it cannot give the lakeside site to a private organisation. He also compared the “flowing forms” of the Lucas Museum to work by British architect Zaha Hadid and 1920s expressionist German architect Erich Mendelsohn. News: Frank Gehry has written an open letter defending the design for the George Lucas Museum by Chinese architecture firm MAD, as a legal wrangle threatens to delay the project. The Friends of the Park will then have 30 days to respond, meaning no progress is likely to be made on the case until February 2015. It is one of the first great examples, and I think it has proved very successful,” he said. Unveiled by MAD earlier this month, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will house film director George Lucas’ own art collection as well as other works inside a curving white stone building, which extends into the landscape at its base. The city is now planning to file for dismissal of the case next month, according to another report in the Chicago Tribune. In my own experience, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles was called broken crockery when I first went public with it, and that was the nicest thing that got said,” he continued. “Chicago is a great city for architecture and has historically supported innovative, forward-looking work. The use of rooftops as public space has precedent in the Malmo Concert Hall in Sweden by Snohetta. Related story: George Lucas hires MAD and Studio Gang for Chicago art museumThe design has attracted criticism from locals. All of these projects have gone on to be great assets to their mutual cities, and I think the same will be true of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and Chicago.”
Gehry said that MAD’s design had architectural precedent and did not just come “out of the blue”. Judge John Darrah declared yesterday that no changes can be made to the land until a further order is made by the court. There is a natural impulse to deride a project in the early stages of design, particularly one that has a new shape or expression. “It is something that has been in the air for many years. Local firm Studio Gang has yet to unveil its landscape design for the museum project, which will include a new bridge to connect the museum to the nearby Northerly Island peninsula. “Please do not dismiss it because it doesn’t look like something you’ve never seen before.”
Last week, local group The Friends of the Parks filed a lawsuit claiming that the site is still a protected waterway as it was once part of Lake Michigan before being infilled in the 1920s, and cannot be developed without approval from the State government. “The recent outpouring of negative sentiment in Chicago against MAD Architects’ proposal for George Lucas’ lakefront museum is troubling to read,” says Gehry in a letter published by the Chicago Tribune newspaper yesterday.