Obama Foundation reveals first look at the Obama Presidential Center

The design comprises three buildings set in the public space of Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side.

May 04, 2017 |

Image courtesy of the Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation has recently given the first look at the design for the Obama Presidential Center. The new campus, designed by Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects, is made up of three main buildings that surround a public plaza that extends into the landscape.

The three buildings will be a multi-story museum, a library, and a forum. The library and the forum will both be one story and their roofs will be covered with plantings to create new parkland. Pathways will lead to the roofs of these buildings and provide views of Lake Michigan, the new public plaza, and the lagoon.

The museum will stand on the northern end of the campus and is meant to serve as the Center’s beacon and mark a visitor’s arrival. Classrooms, labs, and outdoor spaces are all included in the design. Additionally, the campus will be open to the public and provides spaces for events, trainings, and other gatherings. The goal of the new campus is to provide a space for “doing and making, as well as looking and learning,” the Obama Foundation website says.


Image courtesy of the Obama Foundation.


Early renderings show each of the three buildings clad in a light-colored stone. Each building has large swaths of glass incorporated into the design, as well. The campus will act as a transition space between the city, landscape, lagoon, and lake, and allow visitors to flow through the plaza and architecture and into the park beyond.

The project will be, at minimum, LEED v4 Platinum but the architects and planners are looking into the possibility of surpassing those qualifications.

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