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Adjaye makes shortlist for Obama’s presidential library

Barack Obama
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Adjaye Associates has been named among the firms in the running to design the Barack Obama Foundation’s new presidential library in Chicago

David Adjaye’s practice is the only British firm on the star-studded seven-strong shortlist.

The practice is up against Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Snohetta, New York’s SHoP Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and John Ronan Architects of Chicago.

The international competition, which launched in the summer, had responses from more than 140 entries.

The building will include a library for the presidential archives, a museum focused on Obama’s presidency, and space for programmes and initiatives which ‘advance the foundation’s public mission’.

The site for the Obama Presidential Centre has still not been decided and shortlisted teams are working on ideas for two sites – one at Jackson Park and another at Washington Park.

Overlooking Lake Michigan, Jackson Park 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 close to several disused development sites and has greater regeneration potential.

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. 

Chairman of the Obama Foundation Martin Nesbitt, said: ‘The Foundation received submissions from an impressive list of architects with a range of styles, expertise, and experience.

‘These finalists offer a variety of backgrounds and styles, and any one of them would be an excellent choice. We are excited to see this process moving forward because the Obama Presidential Center will be so much more than a library – this facility will seek to inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.’

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

The seven firms will go on to present their ideas to the foundation during the first quarter of 2016.

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