Obama Presidential Library concept design revealed in Chicago



The first images and designs of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects' projects for the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago were revealed.

Former US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, presented the concept and site plan for the library set for the city's Jackson Park at an event earlier today.

The proposal includes a large stone-clad museum with faceted sides and cut-out corners, sitting next to an inferior forum and in front of a library. They would create a U shape around a central square facing South Stony Island.


"The design approach for the center is guided by the goal of creating a real community asset that seeks to inspire and empower the public to meet the most important challenges of our time," said Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Firm of New York, which collaborates with the local studio Interactive Design Architects on the project.

"The Obamas were clear that they wanted the center to fit perfectly into the park and the community, and includes diverse public spaces."

The landscaping, designed by a team led by the New York-based Michael Van Valkenburgh, would envelop the buildings and continue on the rooftops of the forum and the library.


A water basin is provided to the north of the site, while a viewpoint, a toboggan hill, a children's playground and an open lawn are surrounded and connected by winding paths to the south.

Further south would be an athletic center and the connected facility of Jackson Park Track and Field, which currently occupies the proposed library site.

The unveiling of the project follows a speech by Michelle Obama at the 2017 AIA convention in Orlando last weekend, during which she spoke about the library.


"This project means the world to me and knowing that we have architects who appreciate the whole project and not just what the building looks like - which is important, but it's a building that sits in a neighborhood, She said, while urging architects to work on other community projects in the poorest regions.

Williams and Tsien were selected for the project in June 2016, and the Jackson Park site - which is close to where the Obamas grew up - was announced a few weeks later. Construction is to be completed by 2021.

The presidential libraries of America are archives and museums created to commemorate the mandates of each US president since Franklin D Roosevelt, bringing together documents and artifacts from their administrations.

Pictures courtesy of the Obama Foundation.