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Michael Sorkin Throws in with the Lucas Museum Defenders

First Frank Gehry weighed in, and now, architecture critic Michael Sorkin has come to the defense of Chicago's current plan for the Lucas Museum, and Ma Yansong's mountainous design, largely in response to Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin's attempted evisceration of the proposal back in November. Here's a few takeaways.

· In "The Phantom Menace," Sorkin wonders whether the "widespread public revulsion" Kamin's claimed attended the project has much basis in reality.
· In response to Kamin's claim that Yansong's design interrupts the "overriding horizontality" of Lake Michigan, Sorkin points out that "this is a quality shared with pretty much all bodies of water," and claims that "the Lucas project—only 110 feet tall—occupies a particular space along the lake, one that can enhance continuity rather than thwart it... The new museum certainly won't interrupt this flow of green frontage, and the argument that its form will detract from the morphological rhythm of the lakefront is simply specious. I say it will enhance it, offer variety, punctuation, sinuousness, and a fresh and fine architectural form in a city that has always pioneered new design."
· In the mountainousness of Yansong's design, which Kamin compared to fictinal crime lord Jabba the Hut, Sorkin finds hints of "a Frei Otto tent and such mountainous descendants as the Denver airport," which are all "tensile structures distinguished by simplicity and structural directness: their genius is their light weight and morphological clarity."
· Finally, he puts some words of his own into the mouths of Chicagoans: as opposed to New Yorkers with Pier55, "Chicago urgently wants the Lucas collection and the economic and cultural stimulus it promises. The site—already a museum campus—makes sense. It was proposed by a well-composed committee with no particular axes to grind. And the building has the potential to be a tremendous benefit to the city. Let Lucas build it!"

Kamin, who seems to see starchitect apologists everywhere, has responded in kind:


· The Phantom Menace [Architectural Record via Curbed Chicago]
· Lucas Museum Opponents File a Federal Lawsuit to Stop It [Curbed National]