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Construction Watch: George Lucas' Educational Facility

Today we check in with USC's School of Cinematic Arts, which just a few months ago was an enormous hole in the ground and a twinkle in George Lucas' very-well-funded eye. With a record-setting donation of $175 million to his alma mater, construction of the new 130,000 sq ft is going pretty swimmingly. Get ready for more columns, more archways, and plenty of faux-Mediterranean. And when its done, USC will have a "200-seat theater, a 100-seat theater, two 80-seat theaters and four 40-seat theaters; community spaces such as a café and central plaza; and collaborative spaces where groups of students, faculty, staff and invited guests can gather to exchange ideas, demonstrate prototypes, review productions and cooperate on initiatives."

His young Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader isn't the only one who fancies himself a potential architect. The rumor swirling around USC is that the school had an architect and design ready to go, until Lucas ixnayed the project and chose his own architect (Urban Design Group) and design. How true is this rumor? We don't know but we enjoy reading between the lines of this article from AIA:

[Principal Architect] Novack was impressed with Lucas as “architect”: “He was an active participant in this project. It was one of the most unexpected experiences I have ever had. I had no idea how much he is an architect. When you think about his films, of course, he is an architect, but he is also one in a very serious way. A good portion of his library at his Skywalker ranch is devoted to architecture. He is well versed on architecture, has a good sense of authenticity, is a leader in more than vision, and is quite good at giving direction. I would do it again.” So having an extensive collection of architecture books and being bossy can now practically qualify you for AIA membership. That and $175 million.


And just for shits and giggle - the rendering of the future Mediterranean Revival-style school: