As the name would indicate, a presidential library is a very special, almost sacred space. Its duty is to compile the many documents and artifacts of a president and his administration, and present them to the public for greater clarity and discussion. So when it was announced earlier today that former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama unveiled their design plans for the 44th president’s library, many were excited, as it means the public is one major step closer to stepping foot in the 200,000-square-foot campus on Chicago’s South Side.
The presidential library, which was designed by the New York–based firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, will consist of three buildings—a museum, a forum, and a library—and will sit in close proximity to a lagoon that runs into Lake Michigan in the Jackson Park neighborhood. What’s more, the design takes advantage of the verdant surroundings, as there will be ample outdoor space for the public to enjoy. “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 the team at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in a statement. “The Obamas were clear that they wanted the Center to seamlessly integrate into the Park and the community, and include diverse public spaces.”
For Obama, a man who began his political career as a community organizer, it’s appropriate that the sense of community is central in his presidential library. “The Center will benefit the entire Chicago region as a catalyst for economic development, cultural enrichment, and community programming.” said Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, in a statement.
Yet for the former president, the space will go beyond its traditional role. “More than a library or museum, it will be a living, and working center for citizenship,” Mr. Obama said in a video.
President Obama is expected to use his presidential library as a platform to work on issues such as criminal justice reform and education for underprivileged children. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2021, will cost roughly $500 million.
source: architecturaldigest.com BY NICK MAFI