Former president Barack Obama’s foundation on Wednesday unveiled the conceptual design of his future presidential library and museum, a sprawling campus in the city’s historic Jackson Park.
The design envisions three buildings — a museum, forum and library — surrounded by a public plaza in the city park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux on Chicago’s South Side.
The museum, the tallest of the three buildings, will hold exhibition space, public spaces, offices and education and meeting rooms, according to the Obama Foundation. The forum and library buildings are intended to be used for study and foundation programming. The foundation said it is also looking into the possibility of locating a Chicago Public Library branch on the site.
The museum anchors the northern end of the plaza while the roofs of library and forum buildings are to be covered with plantings to create new park land. The total size of the presidential center is estimated to range between 200,000 to 225,000 square feet.
“The Obamas want to create a safe, warm, inviting place that brings people in, teaches them something new and inspires them to create change in their own communities. The center will be a place for doing, not just looking or listening,” said Marty Nesbitt, chairman of the Obama Foundation. “The place we are developing will be integrally a part of Jackson Park. Our team’s approach is to weave the project into the park and use the center to unlock the full potential of the park and engage the community in the foundation’s work.”
The renderings of the museum campus, designed by husband-and-wife architects Tod Williams and Billy Tsien, were released as Obama and wife Michelle traveled to Chicago to hold a forum to discuss the estimated $500 million project with local political and community leaders. The museum is expected to be completed by 2021.
The Obamas, who continue to live in Washington while their younger daughter finishes high school, chose to unveil the plans in the city’s South Shore neighborhood, the once working-class neighborhood where the former first lady was raised that more recently has been beset by the scourge of gun violence that has overwhelmed the city for the last 16 months. The city has tallied more than 950 murders since the beginning of 2016, according to police department data.
In late March, seven people were murdered over a 12-hour period within blocks of each other in South Shore, including a 27-year-old man and 23-year-old woman who were fatally shot as they drove near the venue where the Obamas held the announcement.
Source: USA TODAY |