McCormick Place Lakeside Center demolition proposed to keep Lucas Museum in Chicago

Architecture Midwest Other Preservation
(Courtesy University of Illinois at Chicago College of Architecture and the Arts/Flickr)
(Courtesy University of Illinois at Chicago College of Architecture and the Arts/Flickr)

In the latest chapter of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts’ saga, a proposal has been put forward to tear down the McCormick Place Lakeside Center to make room for the MAD-designed museum. The Lucas Museum is currently tied up in a legal battle with Friends of the Parks, a public space advocacy group, despite being approved by the city. In a desperate attempt to stop the museum from once again moving its location to another city, the City of Chicago expressed its support of a plan that would replace the Gene Summers and Helmut Jahn-designed McCormick Place Lakeside Center.

The 1971 McCormick Place Lakeside Center is located just south of the Soldier Field parking lot, the site that the museum was originally going to replace. The Lakeside Center is noted for having the larges space frame roof in the world, a feat that allows for its mostly uninterrupted interior.

(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Architecture and the Arts/Flickr)

(Courtesy University of Illinois at Chicago College of Architecture and the Arts/Flickr)

The plan to demolish the Lakeside Center is backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic Blare Kamin. In an October article Kamin referred to the building as the “shorline’s Berlin Wall.” Among other concerns, what has not been made clear by the city is where a new convention space would be built to replace the Lakeside center, or who would pay for it.

Friends of the Parks has not yet made a statement on whether they would continue to challenge the museum’s placement if it was to move to the Lakeside Center site.

(University of Illinois at Chicago College of Architecture and the Arts/Flickr)

(Courtesy University of Illinois at Chicago College of Architecture and the Arts/Flickr)

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