Facade Installation Launches at Lucas Museum


Construction crews have recently begun installing curved fiberglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) panels on the southern facade of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, marking a construction milestone.

Once completed, the five-story, 300,000-square-foot structure will feature 1,500 uniquely shaped FRP panels.

Lucas Museum Background, Design

According to reports, the Lucas Museum was originally eyeing a property in Chicago. However, after hiring Ma Yansong of MAD Architects with Stantec as the architect-of-record in 2014, the site and size of the building caused Lucas to abandon plans in the city and head for California.

MAD would later draw up plans for museums in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with the latter being chosen for the project’s home. The building design was officially approved in 2017 with construction launching in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park the following year.

At the time, the museum was scheduled to open in 2021.

Spanning an 11-acre campus, the new building will take shape in the center of the park, surrounded by large trees. Studio-MLA was also brought on to the project to design an extensive, multi-layered green space to embrace the structure.

“The campus with its iconic building and arched belly that creates a canopy, coupled with the 200-plus trees taking root in the park, together create another community gathering place with much-needed shade for our neighbors and others who will use the site,” said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Lucas Museum.

The green space plans to replace the parking area that once occupied the site and transform it into a rain-harvesting system. Additional features of the park include an amphitheater, a hanging garden and a pedestrian bridge.

Inside, the museum will feature 100,000 square feet of gallery space, two theaters, and dedicated learning and engagement spaces, as well as dining, retail and event space.

Of those slated to be featured in the museum’s gallery, reports share that there will be a specific space within the completed facility that will be dedicated to the work of filmmaker and “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, including artwork and memorabilia owned by Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson.

Other works are expected to range from ancient Roman mosaics to Renaissance paintings, contemporary photography and more. The collection of artworks is meant to represent diverse cultures and artistic media, highlighting themes and viewpoints from which visitors can engage with narrative art.

“We believe that narrative art can connect us and help shape a more just society," said Jackson-Dumont. “As a result, every element of this institution contributes to that idea — the site is one physical manifestation of that.”

Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial and Collections, added, “Through narrative art, people from every age and background can find connections between their lives and the lives of others across eras, cultures, and regions of the globe.”

What Now

“It’s humbling and energizing to see how all aspects of this new public resource are taking shape. We believe that narrative art can connect us and help shape a more just society. As a result, every element of this institution contributes to that idea — the site is one physical manifestation of that,” said Jackson-Dumont.

In addition to the installation of the FRP panels, the pedestrian bridge and other landscaping features are beginning to take shape.

Roughly a decade since its first announcement, the museum is slated to open sometime in 2025.

“Through these works, we hope to ignite complex and nuanced conversation that may impact the ways folks understand the world, but perhaps even what they decide to do in the world. We’re thrilled to share this significant progress, and I look forward to keeping the public informed as we forge ahead,” concluded Jackson-Dumont

Other MAD Projects

Back in 2019, MAD Architects released renderings for Harbin Taiping International Airport’s Terminal 3 project in Northern China, evoking the region’s landscape of snow and ice with a snowflake design for the massive structure.

The design was part of a competition organized by Heilongjiang Airport Management Group.

Led by Yansong, the firm released the snow-inspired design in May for the 3,300-hectare (roughly 8,154-acre) structure, that would also house ancillary airport facilities including ground transportation hubs, hotels, retail and parking lots.

The firm argues that the shape, featuring five-finger departure corridors, would greatly shorten the time it takes for passengers to arrive at their gate, while also minimizing congestion and improving the overall efficiency of the airport.

For the interior, the firm plans for a number of indoor gardens and skylights to connect the building’s different levels.

If built, by 2030 the terminal would be expected to serve 43 million annual passengers, with approximately 320,000 outgoing flights per year.

Several months later, MAD announced a collaboration project with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) for a new elevated transport system design.

The two previously collaborated for the 2020 Expo in Dubai.

Developed by team members Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano, Dixon Lu, Matthew Pugh, Wang Tao, Chris Nolop and Nathan Kiatkulpiboone, the pylon HyperloopTT design is raised roughly 7 meters (23 feet) aboveground compared to competing innovations and includes green walkways along the tunnels’ roof. The choice was made with the idea of avoiding common urban obstacles, while also emphasizing urban farming opportunities.

Regarding sustainable energy, the travel system is covered with bendable solar panel skin modules, which are used to power the Hyperloop itself, in addition to LEDs which are slated to function as interactive information boards. The LEDs also serve a second purpose to plants and crop developments found below, promoting a self-sustaining, eco-friendly environment.

The design also uses bladeless wind turbine “forests,” which are expected to be placed along certain sections of the track, lowering energy costs and supplying the technology with additional power sources.

MAD envisions that the groundbreaking transportation system could be integrated in both urban and rural areas, even remote deserts.

In taking the next steps, the team was planning to integrate its full-scale passenger capsule for human trials in 2020.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Building facades; Color + Design; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Construction; Design - Commercial; Design build; Landscape architects; Museums; Museums; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Project Management; Projects - Commercial

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