Design Team Selected for Obama Presidential Center

Two architectural firms have been selected to design the future Barack Obama Presidential Center in South Side Chicago.
From left to right: Charlie Young, IDEA, Dina Griffin, IDEA; Billie Tsien, TWBTA, Tod Williams, TWBTA, Bob Larsen, IDEA and Paul Schulhof, IDEA

From left to right: Charlie Young, IDEA; Dina Griffin, IDEA; Billie Tsien, TWBTA; Tod Williams, TWBTA; Bob Larsen, IDEA; and Paul Schulhof, IDEA

Chicago—The Barack Obama Foundation has selected the team that will handle the design of the Obama Presidential Center in South Side Chicago. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA), alongside Interactive Design Architects (IDEA), will lead the design effort for the presidential library, for which plans were first revealed in early 2015.

The Barack Obama Presidential Center will become the 14th  site in the National Archives and Records Administration. The University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Hawaii and Columbia University were among the organizations that submitted proposals to host the presidential center. Last spring, Mayor Emanuel and the Obama Foundation announced the center would be developed in South Side Chicago in partnership with the University of Chicago. Although an exact location has not yet been revealed, two sites near the university’s South Side campus have been proposed—Jackson Park and Washington Park.

“Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners stood out in their commitment to exploring, together with the Foundation, the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges,” Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the Obama Foundation, said in a statement. “Interactive Design Architects brings local knowledge and a track record for delivering excellence to large, complex civic projects.”

“Tod and Billie’s past projects display an incredible commitment to scale, craft and materiality, and their proposal demonstrated an equally genuine commitment to also carefully balance an understanding and respect for the history and potential of the South Side, the Olmstead and Vaux-designed park setting and Chicago’s overall architectural legacy,” added Robbin Cohen, executive director of the Obama Foundation.

Image courtesy of the Barack Obama Foundation