Seven Firms to Compete for Obama Library Design

The library, to be built in either Washington Park or Jackson Park, is set to be completed in 2020.

By Laila Abdelmonem

Seven competitors will submit proposals to build the new Obama Presidential Center “in the first quarter of 2016,” according to an official statement issued by The Barack Obama Foundation on December 21.

The Barack Obama Foundation has chosen the seven architectural firms to each submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) to design the new Obama Presidential Center.  Each RFP will be composed of “defined, visual responses” from the architects selected. The Barack Obama Foundation expects the library to be completed by 2020 or 2021, on a site in either Washington or Jackson Park.

The complete list includes four New York-based firms, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects, Snøhetta, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; two European architecture firms, Adjaye Associates and the Renzo Piano Building Workshop; and one Chicago-based firm, John Ronan Architects.

One of the New York based firms, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, designed the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Its other notable works include the Folk Art Museum in New York and the Asia Society Hong Kong Center in Hong Kong.

John Ronan Architects, the only Chicago-based firm on the list, has contributed to the infrastructure of Chicago with buildings such as the Poetry Foundation Headquarters and the Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School.

Of the European competitors, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop is the most internationally acclaimed. Founder Renzo Piano won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious architectural award, in 1998 for a lifetime of achievement in the art of architecture. Some of his accomplishments include The Shard in London, Kensai International Airport in Osaka, and the New York Times building in New York City.