Today, the Obama Foundation released new renderings of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC), planned for Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Designed by New York–based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the refined design is intended "to be more organic in form and to appear more elegant and inviting as visitors approach from all directions," according to a statement by the foundation.
In order to make the building less opaque and foreboding—a criticism that the second iteration of the design also tried to address—the design team has introduced an 88-foot expanse of glazing at the mezzanine level of the 235-foot-tall tower, and incisions on the southeast and southwest corners aim to reduce the building's profile. Faceted stone cladding will reflect the changing daylight, and textured stone wrapping the middle southeast corner will simplify the finish of an area previously planned to display carved text. And within the landscape, which Brooklyn, New York–based Michael Van Valkenburgh designed, a 1-acre wetland area will capture and treat stormwater and will include a "Wetland Walk" area with seating and a place for children to play.
Projected to cost at least $500 million, the project likely won't break ground until 2020, after a federal review evaluates the OPC's expected impact on Jackson Park. But that deliberate pace suits the architects: "We're slow designers," Williams told the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin. "We design from the inside out."