the obama foundation today released a finalist list of seven choice – all modernist – architects for the honor of designing the presidential library in chicago.
no word on how many requests for qualifications (rfq) were sent out but 140 did respond representing 99 united states-based firms, 25 countries and 60 cities. the chosen seven represent four from new york, two from europe and one from chicago.
“the foundation received submissions from an impressive list of architects with a range of styles, expertise, and experience,” said martin nesbitt, chairman of the foundation. “we are pleased to see such a high level of interest in the design from so many highly-qualified architecture firms. these finalists offer a variety of backgrounds and styles, and any one of them would be an excellent choice.”
the obama foundation released the request for qualifications on 26 august of this year and asked for submittals by 16 september. the foundation and its advisers reviewed and summarized the responses and made recommendations to the president and first lady, who then made the final selection.
the firms are asked to return preliminary plans to the foundation during the first quarter of 2016. this process is not the traditional juried design competition, but the rfp requires defined, visual responses from each candidate to present creative ideas. it’s expected the architects will present at the white house.
of interest, the finalists have an additional challenge of providing concepts for two locations, jackson park and washington park, both founded in 1870 and linked to each other via the midway plaisance. 20 years later jackson park was developed by architect daniel h. burnham and his partner john root to site the 1893 world’s fair, columbian exposition. due to their close proximity to each other both parks attracted 27 million worldwide visitors over the fair’s six months. the final architect standing will have a big voice in which site will be chosen.
the architect will be responsible for designing the obama presidential center, a facility which will include a library holding the presidential archives, a museum focusing on the obama presidency and issues of our time, and space for programs and initiatives that advance the foundation’s public mission.
chicagoans may not recognize the names on the list, but they may be aware of their local work: adjaye’s retrospective at the art institute of chicago; piano’s modern wing at the art institute; ronan’s poetry foundation and gary comer youth center; diller scofidio + renfro is designing the university of chicago’s rubenstein forum; tod williams billie tsien architects work on the logan center for the arts also on the university of chicago campus.
the national museum of african american history and culture | adjaye associates | courtesy smithsonian
adjaye associates | london & new york
adjaye associates, has worked on projects across four continents. notable works include the nobel peace center in oslo, norway, and the smithsonian institution’s national museum of african american history and culture, currently under construction in washington, d.c. the art institute of chicago is currently running a mid-career retrospective of adjaye’s work.
new york city high line | diller scofidio and renfro | courtesy friends of the high line
diller scofidio and renfro | new york
the firm is led by three partners – elizabeth diller, ricardo scofidio, and charles renfro. their portfolio includes major institutional projects including lincoln center in new york, and the broad museum in los angeles. also, new york’s high line and the university of chicago’s future rubenstein forum at 60th street and woodlawn avenue. diller and scofidio, became the first architects to win a macarthur foundation “genius” grant in 1999.
modern wing at the art institute of chicago | renzo piano building workshop | courtesy rob cleary
renzo piano building workshop | genova, italy, paris & new york
founded in 1981 by renzo piano and no stranger to the president and first lady, as are a few others on this list, piano was awarded the prestigious pritzker architecture prize in 1998 and the aia gold medal in 2008. notable works include the modern wing at the art institute of chicago, the california academy of science, and the whitney museum’s new building on gansevoort street in new york. current projects include the palais de justice in paris, france.
poetry foundation | john ronan architects | courtesy john ronan architects/hedrich blessing
john ronan architects | chicago
john ronan architects has designed many academic and civic institutions in chicago such as the gary comer youth center where the obama foundation held its press conference to announce site selection in may 2015. other notable chicago works include the lyrical and refined poetry foundation and the gary comer college prep. ronan was awarded the aia institute national honor award for both the poetry foundation and the gary comer youth center. [ ronan interview ]
site santa fe | shop | courtesy shop
shop | new york
shop architects won the architecture design award from the cooper hewitt, smithsonian design museum in 2009. notable work includes the barclays center in brooklyn, the botswana innovation hub in gaborone, botswana, and academic buildings at the fashion institute of technology in new york and is currently designing uber’s new headquarters in san francisco.
obama library concept for hawaii’s failed bid to win the presidential center | snøhetta | courtesy snøhetta
snøhetta | new york & san francisco
originally founded in norway, snøhetta was awarded the prestigious mies van der rohe prize in 2009 for the norwegian national opera & ballet. snøhetta’s body of work includes the bibliotheca alexandrina in egypt, the expansion of the san francisco museum of modern art, and the james b. hunt jr. library at north carolina state. in 2014, obama spoke at the dedication of the firm’s national september 11 memorial museum pavilion, calling it “a sacred place of healing and hope.”
logan center for the arts on the university of chicago campus | tod williams billie tsien architects | courtesy of university of chicago/jason smith
tod williams billie tsien architects | new york
williams and tsien founded their firm in 1974. their studio — by choice — designs only institutional, academic, civic, and residential work. they were awarded the 2013 national medal of arts by president barack obama. noteworthy work designed by williams and tsien include the barnes foundation in philadelphia, the logan center for the arts at the university of chicago, and the neurosciences institute in la jolla, california. they are currently designing the united states embassy complex in mexico.
[ download rfp ]