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Washington Park Has the Edge for Obama Library, Adviser Says

By Sam Cholke | February 11, 2016 8:38am
 Paul Goldberger said those working on the plan largely agree Washington Park is a better fit for the presidential library.
Paul Goldberger said those working on the plan largely agree Washington Park is a better fit for the presidential library.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — Washington Park now seems to have an edge over Jackson Park as the new home for the Barack Obama presidential library, according to consultants working on the project.

On Thursday, Paul Goldberger, former architecture critic for the New Yorker and an adviser to the Obama Foundation, told architecture site Common Edge that Washington Park was a better fit for the library and many of those around Obama recognized that.

“The Washington Park site is the more exciting possibility, because it is the less conventionally ‘presidential’ site,” Goldberger said. “Most of the people close to him feel the same way.”

He explained that he was one of the people advocating the process of picking between the two sites proposed by the University of Chicago be slowed down until an architect was selected from the list of seven finalists.

Goldberger told the website that the list was originally five, but the president asked that two he liked be added back. The president already has met with some of the firms, he said.

He said both the president and first lady Michelle Obama leaned toward modern and refined designs in architecture.

“They like modern things quite genuinely,” Goldberger said. “They do not want a traditional building. I don’t want to cite any particular architect, for obvious reasons, but there’s a certain kind of, let’s say ‘tailored modernism,’ that they respond best to.”

The president is expected to choose an architect later this year, who will then help in selecting the site for the library.

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