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George Lucas: Architectural Hobbyist, Four-Legged Expert

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KCRW's Frances Anderton checks in with George Lucas, talking to the director about his new USC School of Cinema Arts, which'll officially open next month. Lucas, who describes himself as an "architectural hobbyist," did the early work of designing the school (before turning over the plans to a real architect); he's also designed many of his own offices. During the interview, Lucas seems a bit shy about talking about his involvement in architecture, and it's only during the end, when he's mentioning his design work in "Star Wars," that he sounds really excited. But the notable quotes:

But you're a space guy! Why Lucas didn't go for a more futuristic look: "Actually I am not a space guy at all, I am more of a Victorian person. My hobby is architecture but most of the architecture I do is retro, mostly Frank Lloyd Wright and Victorian....what I wanted to do [with USC] was build a building that looked like it was built in 1929..I chose a faux Mediterranean look from the 1920s that was developed in Hollywood, in Beverly Hills.."

On starchitects and ego: "...just as in movie making, architecture has its fair share of rather large egos, and the really quality people have a tendency to think about the people that they are serving...there are lot of architects that are just building monuments to themselves so they will be remembered. Because I am a hobbyist, I don't really care, I don't need to build up a reputation... I really prefer to build a facility that functions for the needs of the people that are going to be working in that building."

On Moderism: "I like modernism, I don't live in that kind of a world, I live in a Victorian house, my offices are Victorian, some of them are Frank Lloyd Wright.....the Presidio is a turn of the century army barracks, which is kind of an arcane style..."

On designing planets: "In the world of movies I am still working in "Star Wars" land...in terms of design exercises, it's very difficult mainly because of the volume of work...you have to design thousands of buildings, you have to design planets...you have to design a whole culture..and Star Wars has many cultures..."

Hospitality design in outer space: "It takes a huge amount of work...[in real life] you say Beverly Hilton Hotel, it's done..you walk in, that's what the chairs look like, you're ready to go. [In movies, you have to think:] Do they have hotels, and if they do have hotels, how do they use them? And since they're aliens, and they have four legs, what does the bed look like?"
· George Lucas/DNA [KCRW]
· Construction Watch: USC Cinema School Opening Soon [Curbed LA]