Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects selected to design Obama Presidential Center in Chicago

With experience designing cultural and academic facilities, Williams and Tsien got the nod over other search finalists like Renzo Piano, SHoP, and Adjaye Associates.

June 30, 2016 |

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. Photo: Public.Resource.Org/Creative Commons.

New York City architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien will design the new Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune reports that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama chose the husband-and-wife design duo over six other prestigious firms.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects has a number of cultural and academic projects in its portfolio, including the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. Williams and Tsien became architectural partners in 1986. And as the Tribune reports, President Obama awarded them a National Medal of Arts in 2013.

The Barack Obama Foundation began its search for an architect last August, and the field of 140 architects was whittled down to seven finalists in December. The other finalists were Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects, Snohetta, Adjaye Associates, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and John Ronan Architects.

The center, which is expected to cost more than $500 million, will be built in either Washington Park or Jackson Park in Chicago. It will have presidential archives, a museum dedicated to Obama’s tenure, and other digital exhibits and features.

The Tribune reports that hundreds of millions of dollars still need to be raised, and that construction isn’t scheduled to begin until after January 2017. The center should be completed by 2021.

Overlay Init