The design process for the Obama Presidential Center is well underway, and, as with any design process, the architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are iterating on their initial vision–mostly in response to some of the criticisms of the first design.
Somewhat unconventional, this week the Obama Foundation–the nonprofit tasked with building and operating the library–circulated a list of 11 criticisms and concerns from the community, along with a list of the explicit design changes the architects and foundation itself are making to address them.
For instance, the initial plans included a massive blocky building that critics complained would have a large footprint on Jackson Park, located on the South Side of Chicago. Now, it’s been updated to be a much taller, thinner mass, with more windows and a 100-foot-tall glass segment facing the north. To represent the importance of words in Obama’s presidency, the tower’s facade will include screens made of stone letters (though what they’ll spell out is still TBD).