January 17, 2014

The Lucas Team's Two New Schemes To Sway The Presidio Trust

As rendered above, the original design for George Lucas’ proposed Cultural Arts Museum to be built in the Presidio was panned by the Presidio Trust which expressed "significant issues with the proposed building – its massing and height, and its architectural style," and believed "it should be redesigned to be more compatible with the Presidio."

This afternoon the Lucas team submitted two new design schemes for consideration.

Scheme one is a "gentler, more welcoming" variation on the original, rising to a height of 61 feet with a simplified facade that's reduced in scale and ornament (click to enlarge):

An alternative second scheme reduces the museum to one-story and a maximum height of 45 feet but covers 30 percent more of the site for the same 93,000 square foot mass:

With the National Park Service continuing to challenge the appropriateness of the Lucas proposal, regardless of the museum's design, and seeking a several year deferral of any decision for the site, the Presidio Trust Board is set to meet on January 27 to review the revised proposals for the Mid-Crissy Field site, a meeting which ought to be a rather lively affair.

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum Revised Designs [presidio.gov]

First Published: January 17, 2014 6:15 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

i love it and it totally fits into the presidio designwise.

the car traffic there is going to suck though. would prefer that they just make this more park and more green space and put the museum further from the water.

Posted by: jill at January 17, 2014 7:17 PM

Nice try Lucas Studios but still seems rather intrusive. They did a great job "fitting in" at Letterman...why the troubles this time?

Posted by: Anna at January 17, 2014 7:55 PM

Where will the Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory fit in. This looks like a bad mall in Missouri.

Posted by: anon at January 17, 2014 9:28 PM

Oh c'mon people. They're supposed to somehow 'fit in' with the "historical" US Army buildings there that, to be honest, are just drab, utilitarian rectangles with red roofs.

Just unshackle Lucas and let the creativity flow. He is fully capable of delivering an architectural masterpiece if only he's allowed.

Posted by: Jimmy the House Flipper at January 17, 2014 9:34 PM

The point is not to tie the building into the Presidio style, but to evoke the now vanished buildings from the 1915 Exposition, of which the Palace of Fine Arts is the lone survivor. If we are going to insist that every building in the Presidio look like it was built 100 years ago, can't we be free to choose between historical styles?
The size though- 93,000 square feet, wow! I had not seen that number before. The Disney Family Museum is 40,000 square feet, and the SFMOMA pre-addition had just 50,000 square feet of exhibition space. I don't know the particulars about the size of Lucas' collection, but perhaps they could make the building a little smaller and just put the art on rotation?

Posted by: Adam at January 18, 2014 1:12 AM

Right now the concrete freeway wall is really prominent there, and I don't see it in the renderings at all. Is it hidden, somehow, or is it just a trick of perspective?

I'd lean toward a taller building for that reason alone.

Posted by: Alai at January 18, 2014 2:26 AM

One word: UGLY

Posted by: pedro at January 18, 2014 7:02 AM

This does not address the issue, the use, a museum of all
Lucas's stuff, the bad retro style, the lack of connection with
the natural surroundings and the park itself.

Posted by: molexo at January 18, 2014 7:53 AM

How does a one-story building "fit in" when all the other buildings above shed size are more than two stories?

Posted by: BobN at January 18, 2014 8:21 AM

I just wish George would consider creating a great museum at the exhibition hall of the Palace of Fine Arts and put that building to use while taking the design cues he admires from the rotunda and collonades from the only building (albeit a reproduction) of the Panama Pacific Exposition. The money Mr. Lucas brings with his project would benefit SF Park & Rec (owners of the exhibition hall) and put an underused building to good use.

Trying to fit into the "taco bell" architecture of the Presidio is misguided, Army architecture was never worth preserving.

Posted by: e flat at January 18, 2014 9:03 AM

Just give Herzog & de Meuron a call already and stop fogging around with this neoclassical BS.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 18, 2014 9:25 AM

The problem is with Lucas himself not with the Presidio Trust. He wants to design a stage set himself, and hired a bad Texas house architect to work out the details. Nothing Lucas and that architect do together will ever have anything to do with the site - his predisposition to a formal, symmetrical neo classical pile ignores the views to the water and the Golden Gate, doesn't even get the neo classical details right, and from the renderings will look just as paper thin as the fake brick Letterman complex.

Posted by: Jim at January 18, 2014 3:10 PM

Lucas, forget San Francisco and bring it to Southern California where it belongs.

Posted by: RDL at January 18, 2014 5:12 PM

The old Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts was 110,000 square feet, making it the perfect size for the Lucas museum.

Posted by: Dan at January 19, 2014 12:22 PM

I supported the original Lucas proposal, and I think this one looks worse. With the "minimized" main building (though not by much!), the entrance arch looks that much more out of place.

Posted by: Sierrajeff at January 19, 2014 2:29 PM

crazy ego
less is more

Posted by: Invented at January 20, 2014 8:04 AM

Just replicate the Death Star. It'll be an icon, a mecca for Star Wars fans the world over.

Posted by: Jimmy (not a Real San Franciscan (TM)) at January 20, 2014 9:03 AM

Build it.

Posted by: james jr at January 20, 2014 9:14 AM

The neoclassical is in such contradiction with the proposed use. Would love to see a building more suitable for the Lucas Museum. Get a real architect.

Posted by: Fabien Lannoye at January 20, 2014 11:11 AM

They should have just moved the old De Young into place.

Posted by: EH at January 20, 2014 1:47 PM

Is neoclassical truly so inappropriate, given the Palace of Fine Arts dome to the left?

Posted by: Truth at January 20, 2014 4:29 PM

Taller, smaller, lower, larger is really irrelevant. It will still be a poorly detailed concrete box with a stucco facade - thoroughly postmodern in its conception and execution and entirely out of place at this location in the Presidio. Lucas and his supporters (mainly politicians who are too afraid to do anything that appears to oppose the film industry in this area) have yet to offer any compelling justification why this behemoth would not be more appropriately located at the old Exploratorium site, as a catalyst for the redevelopment of Hunters Point, or better still, Chicago.

Posted by: tj at January 20, 2014 10:53 PM

Every time I start to get my hopes up about San Francisco escaping its hideous post-modern blundering some piece of crap like this comes along and pees all over it. Site? Context? Environment? Evocative spaces? bah - let's just resort to historicist derived garbage - and BAD historicist at that

Posted by: Sharperblue at January 21, 2014 9:25 AM

I'm afraid the design revision doesn't address the first and primary concern of the Presidio Trust Board: that they just plain don't like George Lucas personally, and so they will not accept any proposal from him, regardless of it's architectural merits.

Posted by: anon at January 21, 2014 12:24 PM

That's one of the nicer Lowe's I've seen, I'm definitely going to be shopping there instead of the one on Bayshore Blvd.

Posted by: sunnyside at January 21, 2014 12:28 PM

Better. Now, if they just get rid of the pretentious front door, it would be okay....sort of.

Posted by: jlasf at January 21, 2014 1:40 PM

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