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Obama poised to begin search for presidential library architect

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The Barack Obama Foundation is to begin the hunt for an architect to design its presidential library in Chicago’s Southside later this month

The charitable organisation is preparing a ‘very general’ request for proposals which will be issued to international architects ‘very soon’, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

The expected move comes three months after the foundation announced the building would be located in either Washington Park or Jackson Park in the city’s Southside.

An exact location for the prestigious structure – expected to feature a museum, library, offices and multimedia exhibition – has however yet to be confirmed.

The appointed architect may contribute towards deciding which of the two Frederick Law Olmsted-designed landscaped parks should be used.

Overlooking Lake Michigan, Jackson Park (pictured) is a major tourist destination which already hosts the city’s Museum of Science and Industry.

Nearby Washington Park – connected to the former green space by Midway Plaisance avenue – is meanwhile close to several disused development sites and has greater regeneration potential.

So far 13 presidential libraries have been set up to preserve historical material relating to past US presidents.  

The foundation is planning to raise around £500 million to pay for the new centre which will continue to promote Obama’s presidential agenda after he steps down in early 2017.

Aras Burak Sen and a team featuring Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang were named joint winners of a Chicago Architectural Club-organised ideas contest for the centre last year.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • If there are 'several disused development sites' close to Washington Park would it be really essential for the new library to occupy part of the park, or did Olmsted allow for large buildings to be inserted in it?

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