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Emanuel calls Lucas museum design “bold,” but hints at changes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was a man of few words Wednesday when asked what he thinks of a Chinese architect’s futuristic design for the interactive museum movie mogul George Lucas plans to build on free lakefront land.

“It is bold. I think we can say that,” Emanuel told reporters after a City Council meeting.

“These are conceptual and it’s part of an overall process…. There’s a lot of architects [who] like it. Other people have expressed their view. But, this is the beginning of that iterative process.”

In-between the lines, the mayor was clearly saying there will be changes in the flowing white sculptural building topped by a Saturn-like floating ring of an observation deck that has been roundly ridiculed by Chicago’s movers and shakers.

But since the Lucas museum and a bridge to Northerly Island would be privately financed, with the exception of transportation improvements bankrolled by the city and 17 acres of free lakefront land, the design controversy needs to be handled delicately and diplomatically without offending Lucas or his hand-picked architect, Ma Yansong.

“I’m glad the museum will be built here — not in San Francisco,” Emanuel said Wednesday.

“It will add to the educational, cultural and economic strength of the city.”