CHICAGO (CBS) — President Barack Obama, Mrs. Michelle Obama and the Obama Foundation released Wednesday the conceptual vision and side map for the Obama Presidential Center.
The Obama Presidential Center is being integrated into Jackson Park in Chicago’s South Side, a community where the Obamas call home. In the concept released Wednesday the conceptual vision shows three buildings that represent what will be a museum, forum and library, forming a campus surrounding a public plaza. The campus will be open to the public and the Center will include both indoor and outdoor space “to gather, learn, create and collaborate,” with the hope of strengthening the community, creating opportunities and revitalizing the historic Jackson Park.
“The Obamas want to create a safe, warm, inviting place that brings people in, teaches them something new, and inspires them to create change in their own communities. The Center will be a place for doing, not just looking or listening,” said Marty Nesbitt, Chair of the Obama Foundation, in a statement. “The place we are developing will be integrally a part of Jackson Park. Our team’s approach is to weave the project into the park and use the Center to unlock the full potential of the park and engage the community in the Foundation’s work.”
The Obama Foundation described the Center to be “more than a building of a museum, the Obama Presidential Center will be a living, working center for engagement — an ongoing project for the community and world to shape what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century.”
The Obama Presidential Center will include an art museum, classrooms, labs and outdoor space where it will conduct programs to promote change in communities.
“The design for the Obama Presidential Center promises to bring a beautiful new addition to Jackson Park and the South Side community,” said Robert J. Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago, in a statement. “The Center will benefit the entire Chicago region as a catalyst for economic development, cultural enrichment and community programming.”
The total size of the Center will range between 200-225,000 gross square feet, but the concept site plan imagines a re-shaping of Jackson Park that will result in a total net increase in green space for Jackson Park.
“I am thrilled to join President Obama and Mrs. Obama as we outline the vision for both the Obama Presidential Center and Jackson Park as a whole,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a statement. “This vision will enhance the historic landscape of Jackson Park as originally envisioned by Frederick Olmsted, and we all look forward to engaging with residents as we begin the community process to turn this vision into reality in a way that maximizes economic development and opportunity in Woodlawn, South Shore and Washington Park.”