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Barack Obama Presidential Library

Showcase row: 
not a showcase item
Student name: 
Cassidy Rush
Bachelor 3
John Kelleher
ARCH 3410: Architectural Design III
Autumn 2015

The program of a presidential library requires the division between private territories for the president and other politicians and public territories such as the museum and exhibition spaces. Therefore, the design started with a division of public and private. Because the project is seated at the convergence of the Chicago River, the river was able to be brought through the site to create an island on which the most public part of the building, the museum, was placed. The library portion then created a bridge to access both halves. This encouraged the public to use the Chicago Riverwalk to enter. The building sits elevated on piloti to further enhance the outdoor public realm beneath. Essentially, on one half, the water floods the site and on the other, the city flows in. Upon entering from the street level, a main lobby leads to three different objects: the museum, the library, and the conference center. A central circulation across the bridge leads to separate lobbies for the museum, great hall, library, and administrative offices. On the more private side of the entrance, the conference center splits into two halves; one for hotel rooms and the other for meeting rooms. From there, each piece of program was carved out to create a covered exterior space: outdoor dining, a reading room, and the amphitheater. The goal was to mesh exterior and interior to create one monolithic, unified monument.

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