Change has come to the library: Four architects imagine the Obama presidential library November 22, 2014 – Posted in: books in design, Content, Interior Design, Libraries, Library Architecture – Tags: ,

Obama LIbrary Richard DattnerSketch by Richard Dattner of a potential Obama Presidential Library.

As President Barack Obama’s tenure winds down and we mourn the lack of promised change that was to come to America perhaps it is time to look ahead to the future presidential library to be built in his honor.

Enter the folks at Guardian US Opinion. They asked four award-winning, firm-founding architects to sketch and describe their unofficial visions for a possible Obama Presidential Library. Their ideas expand our perceptions of what a library can be – indeed, what a building can be. Maybe even what the Obama presidency could’ve been.”

Here’s a look that four concepts, one at each of the four potential locations, with a little reasoning from the architect.

 Pictured above, Richard Dattner‘s contribution. Location: Chicago.

The aspirational, rising spiral form grows toward the sky – housing stepped platforms for program functions, and terminating in a ceremonial hall and outdoor roof terraces with 360-degree views. The entire rising roof is planted and accessible – creating a verdant ring seen as a distinctive green “O” from the air.

Obama Library Alfonso Medina

 Alfonso Medina. Location: Columbia University, New York.

President Obama has broken stereotypes and challenged the norm – the presidential library should reflect just that. We propose building a library that is not one single, large-scale building, but rather a series of interventions within existing buildings throughout the whole neighborhood.

Obama Library Paul PreissnerPaul Preissner. Location: University of Illinois at Chicago

Institutions like presidential libraries offer an idea about a person, and an administration – a past, and a future still unfulfilled

In this proposal, exterior weirdness and an egalitarian interior plan replace traditional hierarchies and formalities, encouraging visitors to have smaller personal experiences with a very large history.



Obama Library HawaiiElizabeth Ranieri. Location: Hawaii

Hope is an active verb. To us, the Obama Presidential Library and Center respects history, but the center’s emphasis is on our present and future, honoring the president’s legacy through active engagement. For a presidency that has operated on an unprecedented global scale, Hawaii is the one site that reflects the link between the United States and the global community.

All images via The Guardian

Full Story: Obama’s presidential library: four radical visions of the future from top architects | The Guardian.

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