Tod Williams and Billie Tsien's designs for Obama Presidential Center are refined again

In response to the feedback we received, we’re presenting updates that create even more ways for the community to enjoy what will become an important and memorable gathering place.
– David Simas

Updated designs of the Barack Obama Presidential Center have been released showing a more sculptural building, introducing a large glazed element and adding a textured finish.

The centre will comprise a museum dedicated to Obama's presidency, a library of his archives and a forum to advance the Obama Foundation's public mission to promote global progress. A Sky Room at the top of the building will provide views of the surrounding area.

Spread across a 19.3ac (7.8ha) site in Chicago's Jackson Park, the centre has been designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, who recently won the Praemium Imperiale Award.

Initial designs were released in 2017, with subsequent updates made public in January 2018.

Work began later last year, but ongoing feedback from the local community and other stakeholders prompted a third iteration of the designs.

These most recent changes show the building with a more refined and reduced form, as well as the addition of an 88ft (27m) glazed section at the mezzanine level that will make the building more open.

A mixture of faceted stone and textured stone at the building's corners will provide a simpler finish that the previously planned carved text.

In addition, details of a children's play area have been newly announced, with a design that includes lagoon and woodland themes celebrating the natural world and the environment of Jackson Park.

Elsewhere, gardens and a wetland area with a wetland walk will capture and treat stormwater, more trees will be planted than are on the site today and soil quality will be improved in certain areas.

David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation, said: "We've spent the past few years talking with the community and meeting with neighbours and stakeholders to incorporate their input on how the residents of the South Side and the city of Chicago want to experience the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. In response to the feedback we received, we're presenting updates that create even more ways for the community to enjoy what will become an important and memorable gathering place."

The Barack Obama Presidential Center is expected to open in 2020 at the earliest.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien  Chicago 
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17 Sep 2019

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien receive Praemium Imperiale Award

04 May 2017

Obamas unveil design for presidential museum and library on Chicago's South Side

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Obamas choose Chicago's Jackson Park as site for Presidential library and museum

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21 Dec 2015

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13 May 2015

Chicago wins right to host Obama presidential library

Updated designs of the Barack Obama Presidential Center have been released showing a more sculptural building, introducing a large glazed element and adding a textured finish. The centre will comprise a museum dedicated to Obama's presidency, a library of his archives and a forum to advance the Obama Foundation 's public mission to promote global progress. A Sky Room at the top of the building will provide views of the
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A north-facing view of the public plaza and museum building, as viewed from the roof of the Chicago Public Library building / The Obama Presidential Center
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