In a design bid submitted with Hawthorne Strategy Group to The Barack Obama Foundation on June 16, the team proposed locating the library on a site in Bronzeville, a historic neighbourhood on Chicago’s South Side. Developed by an integrated planning and design team in collaboration with more than 20 firms, organisations and community groups, the proposal for the library embodies the grassroots spirit of the Obama campaign to reflect the President’s agenda.
Based on the 1909 Burnham Plan, Chicago’s strong urban grid and appropriately scaled streets provide seamless connections among neighbourhoods, parks and Lake Michigan. The former Michael Reese Hospital campus in Bronzeville, however, currently creates a barrier between Bronzeville and the lakefront. The design proposal gives the south lakefront back to the people of Chicago, extending the Chicago Museum Campus to the south and filling a gap in a necklace of public city assets that stretches from Evanston to Northwest Indiana.
HOK’s biomimetic plan for the Obama Presidential Library aims to achieve Living Building Challenge certification. Principles of biomimicry will create a site that is functionally indistinguishable from the region’s natural coastal environment and that fills a gap in Illinois’ Millennium Reserve habitat restoration program.