The Barack Obama Foundation announced today that it has selected Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects|Partners (TWBTA) and Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) to design the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago's South Side. Selected from a shortlist of seven finalists, the team of TWBTA and IDEA won over the Foundation with its commitment to creation of inspiring spaces, according to a release from the Foundation.
The pairing of TWBTA and IDEA brings together two small practices: New York-based TWBTA (led by Billie Tsien, AIA, and Tod Williams, FAIA, with Paul Schulhof, AIA) has 30 people on staff and Chicago-based IDEA (led by president Dina Griffin, AIA, with partners Charles Young and Robert Larsen) has 10. Together, the team will blend IDEA's local knowledge with TWBTA's expertise in delivering thoughtful, sensitive architecture. The other finalist firms were Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, John Ronan Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, SHoP Architects, and Snøhetta.
TWBTA's portfolio of cultural institutions includes the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, the American Folk Art Museum in New York (demolished in 2014 by the Museum of Modern Art), and the Phoenix Art Museum. In Chicago, TWBTA designed the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. The practice won the AIA Architecture Firm Award in 2013.
IDEA, which was founded in 1992, built its practice around a philosophy of being interactive, and has completed several cultural projects in and around Chicago, including the Modern Wing and Museum Café at the Art Institute of Chicago, and has designed a wide range of public buildings and libraries in the region.
The Obama Foundation had released a Request For Qualifications in 2014 for a Presidential Center that will include a library and museum in addition to administrative support facilities for the foundation. In the RFQ, the foundation emphasized that the Presidential Center should serve as a functional archive, as do the other 13 presidential libraries, but also as an economic engine for the neighborhood in which it will be sited. As ARCHITECT reported in 2015, two sites in Chicago's South Side are currently under consideration: Jackson Park and Washington Park. The final site has yet to be selected, but shortlisted firms were tasked with developing proposals for both sites.
Construction on the Obama Presidential Center will commence following the end of Barack Obama's second term as president in January 2017, with a projection of a completion date being sometime in 2020 or 2021.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.