Sustainable Design Proposal for the Barack Obama Presidential Center

Sustainable Design Proposal for the Barack Obama Presidential Center

photo courtesy of The White House

photo courtesy of The White House

The University of Hawaii is taking design proposals for the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Honolulu. To demonstrate the potential of the future site, three architecture teams were asked to submit design proposals. Ultimately, the President and First Lady will select the architectural firm that will design the future center in Obama’s home state.

All three teams aim to incorporate the surrounding landscape and honor the President’s social principles with their design proposals. The New York and Oregon based Allied Works Architecture designed a communal space that seeks to bring locals and visitors together under one roof. The New York firm MOS Architects collaborated with Hawaiian firm Workshop-Hi on a design that expands the nearby Kaka’ako Waterfront Park into an interconnected pavilion structure featuring public courtyards.

The third team is made up of the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta and the Hawaiian firm WCIT Architecture. They submitted a plan for an oceanfront property that would convey President Obama’s concern for environmental issues. The Obama administration has made efforts to lower carbon emissions at America’s power plants with the Clean Power Plan.

To reflect President Obama’s attempts to curb climate change, Snøhetta and WCIT designed a building that emphasizes sustainability. The spiral shaped design features rooftop solar panels and a rainwater collecting irrigation system. It also incorporates the beautiful Hawaiian setting with a public rooftop terrace and surrounding gardens and fishponds.

Inside the building, The University of Hawaii aims to honor President Obama’s socially minded legacy and his background as a community organizer. During his younger years in Chicago, Obama was a grassroots organizer where he worked to improve the lives of impoverished and working class Chicagoans. Throughout his presidency, Obama has strived to maintain his community organizer spirit by taking up national social causes like affordable healthcare, equal pay, and raising the federal minimum wage.

In order to reflect President Obama’s legacy, the center will have exhibits dedicated to his life and work, which will be open to the public. It will also be home to a Leadership Academy, a Center for Community Organizing, and the Barack Obama Foundation. It may also be the future home of the official Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum, if the University of Hawaii is selected for the location.


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