Obama library architects chosen

Williams Tsien

The Obama Foundation has chosen New York–based firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects for its planned presidential library in Chicago with Interactive Design Architects as local partner.

The library will hold documents relating to President Barack Obama time in office as well as a museum.

After selecting Chicago as the location for the Obama Presidential Center over competing bids from Honolulu and New York and drawing 140 design proposals, the foundation trimmed the entrants late last year to seven finalists, with only one Chicago architect, John Ronan, surviving.

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The announcement of the winner of the design competition did not solve the long-running question of which of two Chicago sites would ultimately be the location for the library.

The foundation only described the site as being on the city’s “mid–South Side,” that could describe either the Jackson Park or Washington Park proposal.

Both prospective sites are near the University of Chicago, which employed both President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama before the couple became famous.

The portfolio of husband-and-wife architecture firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien (pictured) includes buildings at the University of Chicago and other institutions of higher learning and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

“We believe that architecture is the coming together of art and use, and can bring a sense of grace to life,” said Tsien. ‘The greatest buildings are places, which contribute to more than their particular task by elevating and improving the world.”

Obama Foundation chairman Martin Nesbitt said “Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects   stood out in their commitment to exploring, together with the Foundation, the best ways of creating an innovative center for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges.

“Interactive Design Architects brings local knowledge and a track record for delivering excellence to large, complex civic projects.”

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