Obama Presidential Center, 2018
M.Arch Studio, led by Peter Exley
Jackson Park is on the South Side of Chicago, and is the site for the proposed OPC. Still in planning stages, our task was to use the Request for Proposal from the Presidential Foundation and create our own design that would satisfy the program requirements.
This design took a poetic nature, embodying the young and ambitious spirit of the Obamas. Just as their term hoped to represent a new era for America, the design endeavors to be much more than the many presidential libraries that have come before it.
The program includes several basic civic features, but is more concerned with creating a sense of safety, security, and wonder for the people who will use it.
It borrows language from traditional architectural forms like colonnades and colosseums, but aims to update and employ them into modern day Jackson Park.
Others in M.Arch Studio
"It had been over a year and a half since the Presidential Spirit (POTUSS) has left the White House and greater Washington DC area. It has since wandered the nation looking for a suitable place to settle down and grow up. After much circling and pondering, it set its sights on Jackson Park, an open area surrounded by families and homes it hoped to get to know better. Young and ambitious, the spirit decided to manifest as what it knew: tall strong columns, and orderly acades, pinning down the rolling landscape and shaping up with the surrounding structures, orienting the structures to the invisible threads of data that arced overhead.
Admiring its choice in site, it sighed contentedly, and a swath of piers arose, cupping a nearby football field a little closer to the school across the street. Here it could keep close watch on both young students to the West and the large body of water to the East. The spirit stretched a big stretch, and up sprung several rows of raised walkways, extending it’s adventurous reach across a couple noisy roadways.
A murmur of books and a flock of information alighted a little way away, and the spirit took interest. Impatient to gather this new knowledge, the spirit licked its lips greedily and a kind of temple scooped up the readings before they had a chance to fly away.
After a long day of hard work, the spirit slowly drifted off to sleep. The next morning the sun rose and a teenage brother and sister eased onto the new walkways, admiring the view on their way to school. POTUSS smiled and ushered them in, proudly showing them all it had accomplished."
Site, plans, and sections
Photo of final presentation