Collective Office

Obama Presidential Library Competition Entry

2015 / Chicago

Transparency obscured

As a response to character, this project is a a multi-faceted and complex solution while being as clear and straight-forward as the site allows. The project creates a transparency that is obscured and an opaque massing that is clear. 

The approach to site begins with burying the trains to give the site back to the pedestrian, sloping the landscape to connect each site edge while gaining access to the east and riverfront. The building touches the site at a single point to maximize the usable site by lifting the building to the north in increasing steps to maximize the light that reaches ground plane.

The program makes the landscape and the ground plane a primary element by providing a central core. The building the program wraps around the central core from low on the river side around the south part of the core to the west lifting in 4 segments.

The projects components begin with dining and offices on the lowest river side looking east down the river to the city, the exhibition forms the primary reception and is the space immediately off the core, this space then blends into the museum which blends into the library which is the at the top of the cantilever. The library and museum support areas are stacked and nested together to share resources and building location

Massing of building provides a central core at Lake & Canal intersection with the arrangement of building elements as the Core for primary vertical circulation, a Ribbon for secondary horizontal and vertical circulation between the programmatic elements, between the concrete floor plates, that is enclosed in a double glass wall with louvers wrapping where light and privacy are of paramount importance.


  • Project Team:
    Jeff Klymson (Principal), J Widjaja, M Borowiak