Obama Family Reveal New Details, Imagery for Chicago Presidential Center

A museum, library, and forum will anchor the campus. All images courtesy the Obama Foundation.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have unveiled new details and renderings for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. The former head of state indicated that while public feedback had informed many of the alterations to the initial design, more input was still needed to perfect the plan. Led by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the project is slated to arrive in Jackson Park in Chicago’s South Side in 2021.

Image courtesy the Obama Foundation.

“When I was younger, there was a time I dreamed of being an architect,” Obama said in a statement. “So, as you might guess, I’ve been pretty hands-on in the plans for this center—and Michelle has, too. We want it to be a place full of life and activity, where Chicagoans and visitors alike can explore, exchange ideas, learn, and have some fun. We want to create an economic engine for Chicago and the South Side, and a cultural destination that showcases the south side to the rest of the world. We want it to be a gathering place—somewhere for all kinds of people to come together and learn, not just from history or current events, but from each other.”

Images courtesy the Obama Foundation.

A “campus for active citizenship,” the center will embrace an open layout that is punctuated with a museum and library. An additional public building, a forum, will also be installed to host meetings, events, and community-based programming. All three volumes will surround a public plaza appointed with play areas, an indoor athletics facility, and walking paths.

Images courtesy the Obama Foundation.

“One year ago, President and Mrs. Obama laid out their vision for the Obama Presidential Center: a living, working campus for citizenship that will inspire and empower visitors and residents to create change in their communities and the world,” Obama Foundation CEO David Simas added. “Today’s development is the next step in realizing that vision by creating a cultural destination in Jackson Park and an economic engine for the South Side and City of Chicago. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received from residents and members of the community and look forward to continuing our work with them to ensure everyone has a voice in this historic project.”

The foundation hopes to break ground on the development before the end of this year.