Lucas Museum Design Contest Press Release


Winning Design By Mircea Eni, Graduate Of Illinois Institute Of Technology

Chicago, IL, July 1, 2014 — VIATechnik announced today the winners of their unofficial George Lucas Museum Design Contest. Submitted designs came from around the globe; from professional architects, students of architecture, and creative designers that are die-hard fans of the Lucas franchise. Judged by a panel of Chicago-based professionals noted for expertise in their respective fields of architecture, development and construction, each submission told a unique story celebrating George Lucas and the city known for its art and architecture.

With the announcement from George Lucas that Chicago will be honored with the museum, the current waterfront location has a park-like setting and is, “a museum campus meant to be enjoyed by everybody,” said Mike Ellch, Development Associate at Related Midwest, and jury member for the George Lucas Museum Design Contest.

First place honors went to Mircea Eni, a recent graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology, and current Master in Architecture (MArch) II candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Originally from the Republic of Moldova, Eni is spending the summer interning at Krueck+Sexton Architects in Chicago.

Carol Ross Barney, Founder and Principal of Ross Barney Architects, explained the winning design as, “taking you to this almost dreamlike level as a great story is being told. There is this idea of being lifted up, and the illusion it creates is quite nice.”

Mike Ellch added that the winning museum design, “has a park that is accessible to everyone, and this is very important to this design, that’s why we liked it.”

The Lucas Museum Design Contest was created by Chicago-based VIATechnik, upon hearing of George Lucas’ interest in possibly housing his art collection, examples of his innovative technology, and Star Wars memorabilia in a museum located in Chicago. “We wanted to host an unofficial contest where aspiring designers and architects could showcase their talents and passion for the Star Wars Franchise and its maker George Lucas, while helping Chicago become the destination for what will assuredly be an iconic Museum”, said Danielle Dy Buncio, CEO of the company.

About Runner-Up Designers:

2nd Place: Andrew Isaac Ng and Laura Kiyokane

Andrew Isaac Ng is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, receiving his Master of Architecture degree and earning the AIA Student Merit Award. He received his Architecture from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in 2012. Ng currently lives and works in Ann Arbor, MI.

Laura Kiyokane is a graduate student at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning. She received her B.A. in Urban Studies at the University of California, Irvine in 2012. Kiyokane was born and raised in Los Angeles, but currently resides in Ann Arbor, MI.

Notable Mention: Rodney Marmilic, Eddy Stambulic (the Womp Rats)

Heralding from Australia are the Womp Rats, who comprise of Eddy Stambulic and Rodney Marmilic.  They are a creative duo and that have worked together on a variety of creative projects going back over 40 years. Ed is an architect and Rod is a marketing manager and corporate writer.

About Jury Members:

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA – She is the founder and Principal of Ross Barney Architects. Carol is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, one of the highest honors the Institute bestows upon its members. She is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, recognizing excellence in architectural achievement. Her work includes The new CTA Cermak Station, South Campus Central Chiller Plant for The Ohio State University, the Illinois Accelerator Research Center at FermiLab, two new schools for Stillwater Oklahoma and the Chicago Riverwalk.

Michael Ellch – Michael is a Development Associate at Related Midwest.  His projects include 500 North Lake Shore Dr and Parkview East.  Outside of Related, he spends time as a mentor at Minds Matter and a board member at the City of Hope Future Leaders group.  Michael holds an MS in Real Estate Development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BS in Accounting from Arizona State University.

Daniel Peddicord – Dan serves as a Project Executive for Chicago-based Pepper Construction.  Dan has worked primarily with one major retailer the last 5 years, leading the construction of many of their significant/flagship stores throughout the US.  Dan’s knowledge extends beyond retail construction, holding a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and having completed numerous construction projects in other sectors including hospitality, higher education, commercial, industrial, residential-condos and healthcare.

Brian McElhatten – Brian is an Associate Principal at Arup’s Chicago office and their Structural Leader.  McElhatten has worked on projects in Asia, South America, and the United States.

About VIATechnik:

VIATechnik is a growing engineering organization that offers estimating, LEED Coordination and BIM modeling services to Engineers, General Contractors, and Developers. Founded by Stanford engineering graduates, VIATechnik leverages a highly-educated, experienced, and professional team with an extensive background in government facilities, oil and gas, commercial establishments, and infrastructure. The experienced team at VIATechnik understands the owner’s requirements and specifications – the company’s focus on detail will ensure that their clients’ projects are completed on time and within budget. The company brings deep, functional expertise, and is also known for its ability to deliver results. VIATechnik blends the perfect mix of human capital and technology to effect an affordable service delivery model. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:

Tiffany Lyn

Marketing & PR, VIATechnik


[email protected]

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