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Competition To Design Obama Library Heats Up

Chicago Other

Barack Obama isn't out of office yet, but preparations are rolling along for his Presidential Library. The Barack Obama Foundation received 140 applications from architects looking to design the property. 99 were from US architectural firms; "many" are from Chicago, although an actual number is unknown.

Applications were due Sept. 16. Designs were not submitted at this time, only a framework for how firms would deal with designing the project once a final site is announced. The Obama Foundation announced the University of Chicago's proposal won a competitive bidding process that also included bids from UIC, New York and Hawaii. U of C proposed Washington Park and Jackson Park as possible sites for the library, and bought out several parcels near Washington Park in the years leading up to the bid. Washington Park is expected to be announced as the site of the library.

A panel of consultants including New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger will review the applications before sending finalists to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to make their decision. Once an architect and site have been named, the $500M project will get underway. The Obama Library could open as early as 2020. [DNA]