The design for the Jackson Park site proposes a building in dialogue with a large civic landscape. On the edge of the lagoon sits the building comprised of rotated ellipses which hover above the landscape, offering views of the surrounding city and lake. The bold yet understated structure encircles a large, grassy gathering space inclined toward the east, where it forms an indoor/outdoor theater with the building’s auditorium against the backdrop of the lagoon.
Visitors enter the building through a glass-enclosed lobby which leads to a dining/event space with its waterside terrace. Museum goers ascend to the second level to access the museum; as they circulate through, visitors get views to the surrounding neighborhood and parkland around the building as well as into the community program spaces inside the building, allowing the visitor to make an intuitive connection between the goals and initiatives of the Obama Presidency (museum) with the outcomes that impact people’s lives (community space). The buildings clear-spanning structure results in flexible, column-free interior spaces for community programming space which can be adapted over time to respond to changing programmatic needs.