Luckey Climber at Westfield Fox Valley
|Born||Thomas Walker Luckey
January 6, 1940
|Died||August 19, 2012
New Haven, CT
|Alma mater||Yale School of Architecture|
|Known for||Luckey Climbers|
|Children||Spencer, Kit, Walker, Owen|
|Parents||General Robert Luckey|
Thomas W. ("Tom") Luckey (January 6, 1940 – August 19, 2012) was an American architect and sculptor, best known for inventing abstract playgrounds called Luckey Climbers. Luckey also created furniture, merry-go-rounds, and interiors.
Life and career
... part of a Vermont house into a "spooky space landscape," as one critic described it. Randomly placed steps, ramps, and terraces ascended to the ceiling, and surfaces were sheathed in woolly orange carpet. Elsewhere in the house, a cylindrical rotating room replicated the spatial transmutations of LSD with a bed that became the back of a sofa, a table that morphed into a seating platform that became a desk, and so on.—Alastair Gordon, Spaced Out: Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties
A mutual friend introduced Luckey to Agnes Gund, who insisted he contact the Boston Children's Museum. After he persuaded officials to let him build his first Luckey Climber, the structure turned out to be one of the museum's most popular exhibits, and has now been replaced with a new version.
Luckey Climbers are multi-story climbing structures crossed with mazes and jungle gyms. In appearance, they have been compared to "a Calder mobile fashioned from Monet's lily pads". They have been installed in locations across North America that include:
No major injuries have occurred on Luckey Climbers, and they have a clean safety record—which is one of the reasons why they are so desired by children's museums.
In 2005, Luckey fell out of a second-story bathroom window and landed on his head. As a result of a fractured cervical vertebra, Luckey was paralyzed from the neck down. He continued to design Luckey Climbers, at first with the assistance of his son, Spencer; the one at the Delaware Children's Museum was his first to be fully accessible.
Filmmaker Laura Longsworth made a 2008 documentary, Luckey, about the personal and professional repercussions of the accident. The film appeared at a number of festivals, including SxSW and the Independent Film Festival of Boston, and garnered the Special Jury Award for Artistic Portrait at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival and Best Documentary Feature at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. The film has also been shown on the Sundance Channel.
- Varley, Robert (31 May 2006). "Tom Luckey: Not your traditional architect; Climbing new heights". New Haven Register (via HighBeam Research). Retrieved 6 June 2012. (subscription required)
- Leavenworth, Jesse (26 September 2007). "Art Come Alive: Imaginative Works Of Tom Luckey Aren't Complete Until Inhabited By Humans". Hartford Courant (via HighBeam Research). Retrieved 6 June 2012. (subscription required)
- Jermanok, Stephen (18 March 2007). "Ready. Set. Climb". The Boston Globe (via HighBeam Research). Retrieved 6 June 2012. (subscription required)
- Gordon, Alastair (1 April 2008). "Spaced-Out Spaces". Interior Design. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Cory, Christopher T. (September 7, 2012). "Thomas W. Luckey, architect/sculptor of inventive recreation environments for children; service at Yale Sept.8". The Shoreline Times. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- "Thomas W. Luckey". The Martha's Vineyard Times. September 5, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- Hoover, Bob (17 November 1989). "The climber links earth, sky for kids". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Google News Archive). Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Weinstein, Dina (18 August 2011). "Young at Art expands". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- DePalma, Anthony (18 November 2003). "In Mexico City, A State-of-the-Art Children's Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2012. – with sound and light system by Remo Saraceni.
- Ford, Mary Ann (25 November 2004). "The New Discovery Kids test out museum set to open Saturday". The Pantagraph (via HighBeam Research). Retrieved 6 June 2012. (subscription required)
- "A New Twist". Naperville Sun (via HighBeam Research). 8 April 1999. Retrieved 6 June 2012. (subscription required)
- Berman, Eric (25 December 2010). "Rebuilding of Columbus' Commons Nears Finish". WIBC (FM). Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Price, Betsy (31 January 2010). "Delaware Children's Museum expected to open on schedule". USA Today. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Murschel, Michael J. (28 June 2006). "Christ Community opens interactive kids playground". The Beacon News (via HighBeam Research). Retrieved 9 June 2012. (subscription required)
- Luckey at the Internet Movie Database
- jim (12 March 2009). "Emerging Visions: Introducing Luckey". sxsw.com. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Baltrusis, Sam (31 March 2009). "Luckey filmmaker Laura Longsworth". Loaded Gun Boston. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- "Luckey by Laura Longsworth". Fanlight Productions. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Herrington, Chris (11 October 2009). "Indie Memphis Film Fest: Award Winners/Encore Screenings". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- "Luckey". Sundance Channel listings.