Politics

Models for Obama Presidential Center Released

The Obama Foundation on Wednesday released details of its plans to build the Obama Presidential Center in the South Side of Chicago, calling the center a "campus for active citizenship."

In a newly released video, former President Barack Obama says that he has been actively involved in the planning process to build the center, which aims to open by 2021.

Obama noted that, when he was younger, he went through a phase when he wanted to be an architect.

"As you can imagine, I've been pretty hands-on in the process," Obama said.

The majority of the campus, Obama says, will be open to the public. It includes a sledding hill, quiet spaces, a museum, a library, and an athletic center.

"Michelle and I want the center to be more than just a building," Obama says. "We want to create an economic engine for the South Side of Chicago, a cultural attraction that showcases the South Side to the rest of the world."

The architecture firms planning the campus are Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Interactive Design Architects.

University of Chicago professors and other faculty members have criticized the center as "socially regressive" for its estimated $100 million tab to taxpayers, and for taking public parks for private development.