The Obama Foundation Announces Finalists to Design the Presidential Library in Chicago

The Obama Foundation Announces Finalists to Design the Presidential Library in Chicago

By Luke Hopping
From a field of 140, seven world-class architecture firms have been selected to submit proposals for the Barack Obama Presidential Center.

Martin Nesbitt, chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation, today announced seven finalists for one of the most coveted architectural commissions in the United States: President Barack Obama's official library in Chicago. 

A winner will be selected to design Chicago's Barack Obama Presidential Center in mid-2016. Construction will commence after the president leaves office in January 2017.

The list includes a Pritzker Prize–winner, a hometown Chicagoan, and the team behind the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. All seven identify with the modern architectural movement embraced by the 44th president and first lady Michelle Obama.

Below, familiarize yourself with the finalists, each of whom will meet with President Obama in early 2016 to share their plans to reshape Chicago's South Side. 

  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro: The New York firm stunned the world this year with the latticed concrete facade of the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.
  • John Ronan Architects: The only Chicago-based firm among the finalists, John Ronan Architects hope to keep the commission local.
  • Snøhetta: Founded in Norway but based in New York, Snøhetta designed the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in lower Manhattan.
  • The Renzo Piano Building Workshop: The international firm of Pritzker Prize–winner Renzo Piano unveiled the new Whitney Museum in New York earlier this year.
  • Adjaye Associates: Along with Piano, Tanzanian-born, London-based architect David Adjaye would be the first foreigner to design an American presidential library. 
  • SHoP Architects: Founded in 1996, SHoP is perhaps best-known for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 
  • Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects: President Obama awarded Tod Williams and Billie Tsien a national arts medal in 2013. 

Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.