While the official competition for the future Obama Presidential Library on Chicago’s South Side was still running, BuiltWorlds decided to launch an alternative ideas contest asking the following question: “What sort of Presidential Library would the people design?”.
Jakarta based architecture firm Raynaldo Theodore Design Studio (RTDS) took the challenge and presented a proposal that emphasizes the spirit of fight for human rights and uphold peace of the 44th President of the United States. Therefore, RTDS’ design intends to “keep the monumental and formal impression of a museum” while giving it simultaneously the feeling of a “second home that is open for everyone.”
“We called this proposal the V-House which can be interpreted as peace and victory brought by Obama during his tenure as president. We intended the 14th Presidential Library [to] act not only as a museum but also a second home where people could meet and interact, have a cup of coffee, or do jog at the weekend. V-House will represent a new home where differences are no longer an issue and everyone lives in a harmony.”, said RTDS in a press release.
Projected for the Washington Park, the design preserves as much green space as possible, giving value to the park area. The building stands in harmony with the surroundings and the roof almost seems like an extension of the park. “The design was part of the landscape yet reach[es] for the sky.”, commented the jury of the contest.
The program inside is arranged in terrace form, providing each program with direct access to the garden terrace outside.
The building mass was structured by pulling key points of the city inwards, forming a “V” shape. A white brick wall, with several openings, serves both as a facade and a large planter box, creating a visual connection with the outside and bringing nature in.
Inside the museum, visitors are implicitly invited on a journey through Obama’s life stages from Hawaii, Jakarta, and Kenya to Chicago. Walking through indoor-outdoor sequences, at each intersection of the building a specific point in Chicago is referred. At the end of the journey, visitors will reach the top of the building, where they can see the silhouette of Chicago city from a distance.
V-House was selected as the 3rd Grand Prize winner of the “unofficial” competition for the Obama Presidential Library, organised by BuiltWorlds in partnership with AIA Chicago, Archeworks, Arcbazar, CannonDesign, Dwell on Design, GreenApple Campus, Autodesk, and Forum8.