Barack Obama may still have three years left in his presidency, but the debate over his presidential library is already reaching fever pitch. Planning the outgoing POTUS’ library is an extremely sweet gig, and it’s already been assigned to one of Obama’s advisors. Still up in the air, though, is where it will be built — and who should design it.
The front runner, unsurprisingly, is Chicago. After all, Obama spent a huge portion of his life in the Windy City, where he taught law at the University of Chicago and where Michelle was born. In the other corner of the ring we’ve got Hawaii, whose governor is spearheading a long campaign to get the library built on Obama’s childhood home state. Then, there’s Columbia University, where Obama spent two years after transferring from Occidental in 1981. That seems a little pathetic, and I say that as an alumnus. I think it should be Chicago — it still feels like the Obama’s home.
Then there’s the issue of architecture. Most presidential libraries are built by notable architects of the same era. George W. Bush’s library in Dallas was built — very appropriately — by staunch traditionalist Robert A. M. Stern. LBJ’s memorial in Austin was designed by preeminent modernist Gordon Bunshaft, who built some of the most incredible architecture of LBJ’s time.
So, if we’re thinking about contemporary architects who might have a connection to the Obamas: What about Studio Gang, the husband-wife team from Chicago who won a 2013 National Design Award?
Picture: The Obamas attend the Pritzker Prize ceremony, via The White House