David Adjaye would have been first non-American to design a presidential archive
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects has beaten David Adjaye to land the job of designing Obama’s presidential library in Chicago.
The New York practice (TWBTA) will work with local firm Interactive Design Architects (known as IDEA).
Adjaye (pictured) was the only British architect on the shortlist and would have been the first non-American to design a presidential museum and archive.
He has dined at the White House with the Obamas and is the architect of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
He was tipped by some to be a front-runner for the library which will be built in Chicago’s South Side where Obama cut his political teeth as a community organiser.
The Barack Obama Foundation issued a statement saying: “TWBTA stood out in their commitment to explore the best ways of creating an innovative centre for action that inspires communities and individuals to take on our biggest challenges.
“IDWA brings local knowledge and a track record for delivering excellence to large, complex civic projects.
Williams and Tsien, who appointed a third partner in 2013, Paul Schulhof, said they were “deeply moved” by their win and said they hoped to create a place that “embodies and expands the Obamas’ vision”.
They added: “We have chosen to work on only a few projects at a time, to allow for intense personal involvement in all aspects of the design and construction of a building. This work should reflect optimism and love. The spiritual aspect of the work will emerge if the work is done well.”