LOS ANGELES — After several years of planning and proposals in different cities, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, funded by the “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas, is breaking ground today on a new building here that its leaders predict will take about four years to complete.
Designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, the museum will occupy a corner of Exposition Park, an urban hub near the University of Southern California that already contains three museums and which beat out a proposed island site in San Francisco a year ago. Paul Hernandez, a museum spokesman, declined to release projected building costs “since it is a private project” without any government subsidies, but the full museum project has been estimated at $1 billion.
The groundbreaking, with appearances expected by Mayor Eric Garcetti and other Los Angeles politicians, will include the unveiling of a flashy new maquette (it literally lights up) that highlights plans for a parklike museum setting: 11 acres of green space created by taking over two parking lots and building underground parking instead. The rooftop of the new building will also have a garden and public terraces.
The building itself resembles a starship from a Lucas film, and its form has made for a complex planning and permitting process, said the museum’s director, Don Bacigalupi. “It’s a 21st-century building designed by a young architect who is very forward-thinking,” he said. “It’s a building that could not be realized as recently as 10 years ago because of the tools utilized.”
The museum’s core collection consists of artwork that Mr. Lucas has acquired, initially on his own and more recently with his wife, Mellody Hobson, in the fields of 20th-century American illustration (including classics by Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell) and comic books, as well as costumes, storyboards, stage sets and other archival material from his movies.