Obama Center scraps above-ground parking garage after neighborhood opposition

The Obama Presidential Center design as seen from the south side of the campus

New details are emerging about the Obama Presidential Center including design revisions for a taller and sleeker museum tower and hundreds of new trees.

The facility will be built along Lake Michigan on Chicago's South Side. Another two-story building will house a library and both buildings will be covered with accessible parkland on the rooftops.

A new rendering of the Obama Presidential Center.

Designed by United States firms Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Interactive Design Architects (IDEA), the Obama Presidential Center is planned for a site in the historic Jackson Park.

These buildings will form a U-shape around a public plaza, which will host events. However, those design changes did little to address the community's concern with disrupting the Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux-designed park.

The Obama Foundation submitted its planned development and lakefront protection ordinance applications for the Obama Presidential Center on Wednesday, but the plan still faces some opposition.

"While we don't expect everyone to agree with every element of the plan, we look forward to working with people across the community and the city to make the most of the opportunity to create a global destination that will showcase the South Side to the world", the spokesperson said in a statement.

Instead, the proposed center would include a recording studio, basketball courts, and a children's play garden. The tower's shape is based on a photograph of four hands coming together, according to Obama. We're going to continue to iterate on these plans, and we're going to continue to turn to you for your feedback.

The letter hammered the Obama Foundation's plans to build a 450-space parking lot, saying that it is "socially regressive" because it privileges people who can afford to have a vehicle.

"When I was younger, there was a time I dreamed of being an architect", said Barack Obama in revealing the new crowdsourced plans. "We want it to be a place full of life and activity, where Chicagoans and visitors alike can explore, exchange ideas, learn, and have some fun".

"From community meetings, to online surveys, we've heard from literally thousands of people about their hopes for the center", he said.



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