The winners of the Chicago Design competition to create the Obama Presidential Library offer something between Bauhaus and The Jetsons.
Though President Obama currently spends most of his days fighting with Congress, he may have his very own space-orb to visit when he leaves office in 2017. With planning already underway for an eventual Obama Presidential Library, Chicago, New York, and Hawaii are all fighting to house Barack’s house of books. Recently, the Chicago Architectural Club announced the 2014 Chicago Prize–winning designs they hope will give them the lead—and the results look like a cross between The Jetsons and Walter Gropius’ unrealized plans for the Middle East.
The first design is an orbital structure presented in the form of an open-air globe from Aras Burak Sen. The architect’s design features eight levels, each highlighting a different year of Obama’s time in office. In the spirit of free speech, the amphitheater at the ground level has no glass or walls, offering an airy open forum. Also on the ground floor, a peace sign will connect Chicago’s three riverbanks, “reflecting the hope felt during Obama’s first year.” On a sad note, each subsequent level will morph the peace sign to represent “the distortion of that hope over time.” Wow.
The second winning design, created by Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang, would bring a floating ring over the Chicago River. Intended to provide a stark contrast to the city’s grid-like system, the ring will contain tributes to the President’s life, divided into six parallel walking paths. The roof of this creation will be larger than life, touting the famous Obama quote, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”—visible from all nearby buildings.
If either of these plans wins the bid, it can expect some serious support from the Barack Obama Foundation who, on January 31st, announced it would be managing the library’ s planning—an estimated $500 million expense.