The design for the Washington Park site represents an opportunity to seamlessly integrate the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) into the urban fabric and become a catalyst for urban transformation. The library and museum components are wrapped on all sides with indoor and outdoor community programs which in turn transition into the neighborhood, creating a kind of national community center. Park enhancements are consistent with Olmsted’s vision.
Visitors enter through a dramatic open air terrace facing the park. The building interior is organized in bands of concentric program zones—library, museum and community program space. The innermost zone is the Library, which wraps around a courtyard and auditorium forming an indoor/outdoor theater and is more contemplative in atmosphere. Encircling the Library is the Museum, where visitors obtain an intuitive understanding of the goals and actions of the Obama presidency and its impact via juxtaposed views into the community program space which surrounds it, supporting a wide range of activities to actively engage visitors and invite them to participate in the life of the Foundation. Community programming extends outside to encourage social interaction and community engagement.