Piano contender for Obama Chicago library project


Prominent design firms from Chicago, across the USA and a number of international architects have been invited to apply for the Barack Obama Presidential Library design contract.

Renzo Piano is among the front runners of those  who have been invited to bid for the new building after his  new Whitney Museum in New York was recently dedicated by first lady Michelle Obama.

The Barack Obama Foundation has also contacted the architects of the two previous Presidential libraries.


Robert A M Stern designed the George W Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, while Polshek Partnership, now known as Ennead, designed the (Bill) Clinton library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Chicago-based German architect Helmut Jahn is also on the list while another Windy City company, Studio Gang, is also thought to be a likely candidate.

Morphosis – the LA-based firm founded by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne – has not been confirmed as a contender but industry insiders feel the firm has a realistic chance of being chosen..

The library, to be built after Obama’s final term ends, will house material relating to his life and presidency. It will be the 14th official presidential library in the US, each dedicated to presenting documents and artifacts related to a former president – alongside scholarly libraries and spaces for education foundations.

Organisers from the sitting president’s foundation confirmed that Chicago would host the Obama presidential library in May, with the city defeating proposals from New York and Hawaii.

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