Obama library round-up: Woodlawn, Lakeside, Bronzeville and more vying for nation’s 14th presidential library
Speculation over the future site of President Barack Obama’s presidential library has picked up as a slew of Chicago sites—as well as some in New York, Hawaii, and even Kenya—made the June deadline for proposals. Ultimately the decision is up to the President and the board tasked with developing what will be the nation’s 14th presidential library, but dozens of groups are attempting to tug at that group’s ears. (Even I used AN‘s June editorial page to consider the library’s urban impact.) Here’s a round-up of some of the Chicago proposals made public so far.
After President Barack Obama leaves office, he’s expected to announce the location of a Presidential Library in his name. Its location has been a topic of debate for some time already, years ahead of Obama’s return to civilian life in 2017. His birthplace, Hawaii, has made a push, as has New York’s Columbia University, where Obama got his undergraduate degree in political science.
Chicago, the President’s adopted hometown, is a natural frontrunner in the preemptive race, as it’s where Obama made most of his political ties and first launched his career in public service.
The University of Chicago’s ongoing development is a balancing act of preserving its collegiate gothic badge of architectural honor and making bold contemporary bounds ahead. One project that maintains that equilibrium with grace is Ann Beha Architect’s conversion of the University’s old Theological Seminary into a new economics building.
The area surrounding the site at 58th and University is on the preservation watch list, so the new steel-and-glass research pavilion along Woodlawn Avenue is likely to ruffle a few feathers. But most of the work treads lightly on the site. Glass infill will create a new entryway between the seminary building’s two main wings.
While historic facades remain throughout much of the building, designers hope a new staircase will improve vertical circulation. And a 90-seat classroom anchors an expansion below grade that improves access to existing space, drawing in light from openings to a new loggia above. Placed atop a terra cotta base, the modern addition jives tastefully with the former seminary.
In Bloom. Spring has sprung! Time to go to the cemetery! There’s no place like Cambridge’s Mount Auburn, the Bronx’s Woodlawn, Brooklyn’s Greenwood, Philly’s Laurel Hill, or Chicago’s Graceland at the peak of spring. Check out great 19th and 20th century architecture alongside exquisite horticulture in full bloom. Need more convincing? read Rebecca Greenfield‘s interview with Keith Eggener in The Atlantic. Eggener, author of Cemeteries, describes these verdant grounds as America’s first parks .
A Shade of Green. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron takes on the very notion of LEED certification with the completion of the city’s massive 20-acre Pennsylvania Convention Center right in the heart of the city. While she gives the Center props for trying, she ultimately finds the silver rating dubious.
Revolving Door. The endless parade of potential buyers that have been sweeping up and down the central stairs of the Chelsea Hotel continues to grow, though the NY Post says that the hotel may finally have found a buyer in the W Hotel magnate David Edelstein.
Shell Shucked. A charming article in The Dirt looks at the history of the humble East Coast oyster and the role it can play in cleaning up polluted waterways if reintroduced.