News / City Life

Here's a first look at the design of the Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park

Obama Presidential Library
Courtesy the Obama Foundation

Barack and Michelle Obama were in Chicago again today at the South Shore Cultural Center unveiling further details about the forthcoming Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park, which is scheduled to open in 2021. Renderings revealed this morning showcase a campus made up of three buildings, centered around a prominent stone structure that will house a museum and educational facilities. A building containing an auditorium and a restaurant as well as the library itself—housing documents and artifacts from Obama's eight years as president—are also depicted.

The design, which is the work of New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, appears to eliminate a portion of Cornell Drive that runs between Hayes Drive and Midway Plaisance. Drivers would be rerouted to the nearby Stony Island Boulevard, while the existing road would be converted into a walking path running along the Jackson Park lagoon.

Visitors will be able to walk on top of the landscaped roofs of the library and forum, offerings views of Jackson Park, Lake Michigan and the distant Chicago skyline. As it stands, the design focuses on integrating the campus into Jackson Park in a way that isn't unnecessarily obtrusive, incorporating buildings that are far from showy and plenty of green space that will be open to the public.

The Obama Foundation has not commented publicly on the cost of the Obama Presidential Library, but the Chicago Tribune estimates that the project will ring in at least $500 million. While the City of Chicago is providing the land for the project (for a small fee), taxpayers won't be chipping in to make the library a reality—funds for the project will be collected from private donors.

Take a look at a model of the proposed design for the Obama Presidential Library below.

Courtesy the Obama Foundation

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