Obama Foundation Unveils TWBTA-Designed Obama Presidential Center


View of the Obama Presidential Center plaza. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

View of the Obama Presidential Center plaza. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

The Obama Foundation today unveiled the design of former President Barack Obama’s Presidential Center, reports The Chicago Tribune. Designed by Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the center’s design comprises three buildings. At the north of the site, the tallest building will contain the center’s museum, while buildings to the south will house a library, auditorium, and restaurant, arranged around a public garden.


Conceptual Site Model. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

Conceptual Site Model. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

“The design approach for the Center is guided by the goal of creating a true community asset that seeks to inspire and empower the public to take on the greatest challenges of our time,” said Tod Williams, Billie Tsien and Dina Griffin of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Interactive Design Architects.

“The Obamas were clear that they wanted the Center to seamlessly integrate into the Park and the community, and include diverse public spaces. Our hope is that this design for the Center interspersed with Jackson Park honors the legacy of Olmsted and Vaux and unlocks potential and opportunity for Jackson Park, the South Side, and the City of Chicago.” 


Conceptual Site Plan. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

Conceptual Site Plan. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

All three buildings will be clad in light stone with substantial areas of glass. The model displayed at the South Shore Cultural Center also suggests that while the two lower buildings will be both be one story tall—with accessible garden roofs—they will also contain a significant amount of space below-ground, bringing the total area of the project to between 200,000 – 225,000 square feet (18,500 – 21,000 square meters). Located in Chicago’s Jackson Park, the Tribune notes that the design appears to call for the closure of Cornell Drive, a thoroughfare that currently runs through the park.

News via The Chicago TribuneObama Foundation


Aerial Shot of the Existing Site. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

Aerial Shot of the Existing Site. Image Courtesy of Obama Foundation

Tod Williams + Billie Tsien Win 2017 LongHouse Award, Discuss Design Ideas for Obama Presidential Library

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been selected of the recipients of the 2017 LongHouse Award for their “for their outstanding body of work in architecture.” At Wednesday evening’s ceremony, the husband-wife team opened up about the conceptual ideas driving their yet-to-be-revealed design for the Obama Presidential Library.

Barack Obama Presidential Center Selects Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

The Obama Foundation has selected Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA) with partner Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) to lead the design of the Obama Presidential Center for Chicago’s South Side.

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