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Barack Obama Foundation begins search for presidential library architect

Both national and foreign firms will compete for chance to design the Chicago-based Presidential Center.

August 27, 2015 |
Barack Obama Foundation begins search for presidential library architect

Barack and Michelle Obama look at Chicago's skyline. Photo: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons 

A search has begun to find the architecture firm that will design the proposed Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The group overseeing the process, the Barack Obama Foundation, declined to say how many firms have applied to design the library and museum.

The foundation did say that while foreign applicants are being considered, at least 90% of the invited firms are American, with a good portion from Chicago. If a foreign architect wins the nod, it will be the first time a non-American has designed an American presidential library.

Firms have until September 16 to submit credentials, references, and work examples. Finalists will be selected later this year, and the winner will be announced early next year.

The center is expected to be built on Chicago's South Side, either in Jackson Park or Washington Park, both located in predominantly African-American communities.

The foundation plans for the library to have community gardens, dining spots, presidential archives, and other features. It is expected to cost at least $500 million and not be completed until 2020-21.

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