Episode III: Exposition Park

BREAKING: Los Angeles chosen as new site for MAD Architects’ Lucas Museum

Architecture News West
MAD Architects's vision for the Los Angeles location focuses on maintaining open green space in the city's Exposition Park. (Courtesy MAD Architects)
MAD Architects's vision for the Los Angeles location focuses on maintaining open green space in the city's Exposition Park. (Courtesy MAD Architects)

The Board of Directors for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts elected this afternoon to pursue Los Angeles as the latest site for their troubled museum proposal.

The decision marks the third time the museum board has attempted to find a site for the $1 billion, MAD Architects-designed scheme. The firm’s initial San Francisco proposal was rebuffed in 2015. The team made a try for a site in Chicago, only to scrap the plans in the face of fierce opposition to the project by a local community group known as Friends of The Park.

Prior to being relocated to the west coast, the team behind the museum tried and failed to execute a totally different concept in Chicago. (Courtesy MAD Architects)

Prior to being relocated to the west coast, the team behind the museum tried and failed to execute a totally different concept in Chicago. (Courtesy MAD Architects)

Instead, Los Angeles’s Exposition Park, home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California African American Museum, California Science Center, and the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County will now potentially host Lucas’s namesake museum.

(Courtesy MAD Architects)

(Courtesy MAD Architects)

The Los Angeles proposal was selected after the museum team made parallel pitches for a second site on San Francisco’s Treasure Island and one in L.A.’s Exposition Park.

The new museum, if built, will be located along the city’s Expo Line light rail line, within proximity of the forthcoming Gensler-designed Los Angeles Football Club soccer stadium, and would cap a park already brimming with global cultural and entertainment destinations. In announcing their decision, the Lucas Foundation’s board of directors extolled the virtues of the urban park and its surrounding neighborhood, saying, “While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship.”

In an effort to preserve the green spaces of the park, the selected scheme will include public open space on its rooftop. Renderings for the proposal show the curvaceous museum located in a leafy, park setting topped with tufts of greenery. The museum also appears to gingerly touch the ground by coming down in a series of large, discrete piers.

It’s still unclear what sorts of developmental hurdles the museum will need to surpass prior to start construction, but the project clearly has a fan in L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti, who after learning of the decision, remarked to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city. It’s a banner day for L.A.”

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