We predict that the the Lucas Museum on Chicago's lakefront, aka Jabba the Hutt, will be a record-breaking success and attract far more visitors than the Obama Library.
Question 1– If this is true then why is this not a bigger campaign issue? If the new Lucas Museum provides more visitors and a chance to fill up McCormick Place, then why isn't this being touted as a way to help Chicago grow through tourism?
The most visitors a presidential library ever attracted was attracted was 1 million. The year was 1969 and Eisenhower had passed away. What are the Eisenhower museum's numbers today? In 2007, 64,000 people visited the library. This article on Salon explains in detail:
Question 2–Why isn't the museum talked about on its design merits rather than someone's misinterpretation of what Montgomery Ward believed in? Montgomery Ward, as you recall, had declared that the "Lakefront be forever open and free." The museum covers up an existing parking lot with a landscape. Why isn't this fact brought up in this conversation? Here it what the parking lot looks like today:
With the context made clear, the building covers up an eyesore with a public attraction. The land will never be "open and free." So why not create a couple of hundred jobs and then some through the multiplier effect? Great Architecture and economic development–it doesn't get any better than this!
We will talk about more about the Architect Ma Yansong in a later post. His favorite Chicago building is Lakepoint Tower which was designed by my teacher George Schipporeit. He gets Chicago and what is important here.
Remember what Daniel Burnham said
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work."
When Chicago forgets these words, it is time to put out the "for sale" sign, turn out the lights and move to the West Coast. Chicago needs bold solutions that capture the imagination not committee-driven mediocrity.