His term isn’t up until 2017 but Barack Obama is already making plans for life after the White House. The US president has started the hunt for an architect to design a presidential archive and museum in his hometown of Chicago.
Upon the launch of the design competition, Obama Foundation chairman Martin Nesbitt said: ‘This process is the next step toward the creation of the Obama Presidential Center, which will serve as a forum to inspire and empower people to take action on the big challenges of our time.’
The presidential library, announced back in May, will primarily serve as an archive for documents relating to Obama’s presidency. An interactive museum about his administration, community gardens, performance spaces and offices for the Obama Foundation will also make up the complex.
Two potential sites in the South Side have been identified for the building – one in Jackson Park and another in Washington Park – with the City of Chicago set to decide on the final location in the coming months.
The Obama Presidential Center will have close ties to the local community, with the complex hosting educational programmes, performances and meetings between activists, thinkers and leaders.
Obama’s open call to architects is a presidential first – previous heads of state have all handpicked their designers. A winner will be decided in early 2016.