For the 2014 Chicago Prize ideas competition this past fall, architects and designers worldwide were asked one question: How would you design Barack Obama's Presidential Library?
Referring to the lively debate regarding the potential construction of a Barack Obama Presidential Library, the competition called for speculative proposals that rethink the U.S. Presidential Library building typology.
At the end of the competition, two prize winners and three honorable mentions were selected.
WINNER: Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang
Project summary: "The Barack Obama Presidential Library is designed to reflect President Obama’s charisma, while maintaining and showcasing the identity of the urban grid and river system. The designers fully utilized the roof of the Library as a “fifth elevation,” which would be visible from the surrounding skyscrapers. The Library would have exhibitions divided into six sections including: early life and career, legislative career, presidential campaigns, presidency, public image, family and personal life. Visitors would experience each section by walking along, and between six parallel tracks allowing them to examine different aspects of the president’s life at one time."
WINNER: DESIGN TEAM: Aras Burak Sen
Project summary: "The primary function of the Barack Obama Presidential Library would be to serve as public forum and archive of his years in office, rather than as a memorial. The building would be divided into eight levels of differing heights, with openings offering various views of Chicago. Each level archives a single year of Obama’s presidency. The amphitheater at the base of the building is designed without any glass, or walls, and would provide Chicagoans with a public forum for free speech. The ground floor of the Library is shaped like a peace sign to represent the hope felt during Obama’s first year in office, and serve as a bridge connecting the three riverbanks. The peace sign shape changes on each level representing the distortion of hopes over time."
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