Barack Obama Presidential Center

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Barack Obama Presidential Center
Logo of the Obama Foundation, the non-profit organization that is overseeing the construction of the Barack Obama Presidential Center
Location Jackson Park, Chicago, Illinois
Construction start TBD
Completion date Approximately 2020
Named for Barack Obama
Architect Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and Interactive Design Architects

The Barack Obama Presidential Center[1] is the planned presidential library of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. The center will be hosted by the University of Chicago, and will be located in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. Once completed, it will become the 14th site in the National Archives and Records Administration's presidential library system.[2] The nonprofit Barack Obama Foundation was set up to oversee the creation of the Center and the building of its site.

History and planning[edit]

The Barack Obama Foundation board consists of: Marty Nesbitt, a close friend from Chicago; J. Kevin Poorman, president and CEO of PSP Capital Partners; David Plouffe; Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng; venture capital financier, John Doerr; Studio Museum in Harlem Director and Chief Curator, Thelma Golden; and fundraiser and former White House staffer, Juliana Smoot.[3][4] Barack Obama has a home in Hyde Park.[5][6][a]

The foundation was formally established in January 2014.[7] Several organizations, including the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Hawaii, and Columbia University submitted proposals for the honor of hosting the institution.[8][9]

In May 2015, the Barack Obama Foundation and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the Foundation and the Barack Obama Presidential Center would be located in Chicago's South Side and would be built in partnership with the University of Chicago.[10] The selection of Chicago's South Side has broad local support for reasons of civic pride as well as of the economic development it would bring in the form of tourism and jobs, although the nonprofit group Friends of the Parks opposes the loss of parkland to build the library and has threatened a lawsuit to block development.[10]

A design advisory committee assisted in the selection of the architects. Members of the committee included sculptor Don Gummer (the husband of actress Meryl Streep); Ed Schlossberg of ESI Design (husband of Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan); Fred Eychaner, a Chicago radio station owner and Democratic financier; and Architectural Digest magazine editor Margaret Russell.[11] Seven architectural firms were announced as finalists in December 2015 from an initial list of 140 applicants:[11] John Ronan Architects, Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, SHoP Architects, Snøhetta, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.[12]

Two firms, New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Chicago-based Interactive Design Architects, were chosen in June 2016 to jointly lead the design and engineering of the center.[13][14]

Two parks near the University of Chicago's South Side campus—Jackson Park and Washington Park were considered.[10] On July 29, 2016, the Foundation announced that the Jackson Park, located on the Chicago lakefront, was chosen.[1][15] The park, designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, already houses the Museum of Science and Industry.[15]

Construction of the center is expected to be completed in 2020 or 2021.[11] The estimated total cost is more than $500 million.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “I spent almost 30 years in Chicago. It’s where Michelle, where she grew up, where our daughters were born,” he said. “Hawaii is home to me,” the president said, but Chicago was his real home.[6]


  1. ^ a b "The Obama Presidential Center". 
  2. ^ "Obama Foundation FAQs". Barack Obama Foundation. 
  3. ^ David Jackson (January 31, 2014). "Obama library foundation is formed". USA Today. 
  4. ^ "About the Foundation". Barack Obama Foundation. 
  5. ^ Gima, Craig (March 3, 2016). "Obama: 'Hawaii is home,' but he probably won't live here". Star Advertiser. Honolulu. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Obamas likely to stay in DC for a few years". Reuters interview (rough cut with no reporter narration). March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ Supporters Establish the Obama Foundation to Oversee Planning for Future Presidential Library, Barack Obama Foundation (January 31, 2014).
  8. ^ "Michelle Obama to pick Obama library location: report=Obama Foundation Issues RFP to Four Potential Hosts of Future Presidential Library". WGN-TV. 
  9. ^ "Obama Foundation Issues RFP to Four Potential Hosts of Future Presidential Library". Barack Obama Foundation. 
  10. ^ a b c Julie Bosman & Mitch Smith, Chicago Wins Bid to Host Obama Library, New York Times (May 12, 2015).
  11. ^ a b c Blair, Kamin (January 13, 2016). "Husbands of Streep and Kennedy advising on Obama Center architect". Chicago Tribune. 
  12. ^ Lynn Sweet, Seven firms make cut to design Obama Center in Chicago, Chicago Sun Times 12/21/2015
  13. ^ "Obamas choose New York architects to design Chicago library and museum". Chicago Tribune. 30 June 2016. 
  14. ^ "The Obama Foundation Announces Architect Selection for Future Presidential Center". The Obama Foundation. 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  15. ^ a b c Katherine Skiba, Obama Foundation makes it official: Presidential library will go up in Jackson Park, Chicago Tribune (June 29, 2016).

External links[edit]