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The official sites for the OPC are located within significant public parks and from the outset this caused us concern. We understood that legislative and administrative amendments had been made by the Illinois State Legislature and the City of Chicago to permit alienation of public open space for this purpose, but given the ideals of the Obama Foundation and the physical constraints of the sites, we were convinced that better sites were available nearby within the urban lands of the South Side neighborhoods, or in more appropriate parts of the parks. We undertook a critical analysis of the official sites in Jackson Park and Washington Park, considering their proximity to public transport and local community centers; the use and quality of the parks; and the role the OPC would have in relation to the local community. The Studio critique is presented below.

MUDD21 Studio critique of Washington Park official site

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Development in park Loss of arboretum Removed from community Isolated due to surrounding road network

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Development in park Loss of sports/recreation fields Removed from community Isolated due to surrounding road network & elevated railroad tracks

MUDD21 Studio critique of Jackson Park official site Obama Foundation 2014, RQF to Provide Architectural Design Services for the Obama Presidential Center, The Foundation, Chicago, pp.17-19.

The study rejected the official sites selected by the Obama Foundation for the reasons outlined above. Four alternative sites were chosen within the neighborhoods of Washington Park and Woodlawn. In addition, one alternative site within the public open space of Washington Park and another within the public open space of the Midway Plaisance near Jackson Park were considered. The principles on which the six alternative sites were selected included the following: the site had to be within a five minute walk from a transit station (based on the assumption that this would ensure high levels of street activity to stimulate economic uplift and promote ‘eyes on the street’ safety); the site had to be embedded within or closely related to the urban fabric and urban life of the neighborhoods; the site had to be vacant or generally underused; the site had to be city-owned or in single ownership. The six sites selected were, (1) Garfield Boulevard, Washington, corner of Garfield Boulevard and Martin Luther King Drive; (2) 51st Street, Washington Park, corner of 51st Street and Martin Luther King Drive; (3) 63rd Street, Woodlawn, near corner of Cottage Grove Avenue, (4) Cottage Grove Avenue, Woodlawn, corner of 63rd Street; (5) Midway Plaisance, Jackson Park on Stony Island Avenue; and (6) 63rd Street, Jackson Park near corner with Stony Island Avenue. Washington Park Garfield Boulevard

Washington Park Woodlawn 51st Street Cottage Grove Ave

Woodlawn 63rd Street

Jackson Park Midway Plaisance

Jackson Park 63rd Street


CTA Green Line


The south side aerial repres selected for investigation pu Presidential Center. This sec design vision statement, iss have been formulated on the the detail analysis process.

Six alternative sites

Urban design frameworks ha are supported by an aerial vie development sits within its res designs are supported by rend the potential street activatio from the proposed interventio

Master of Urban Development Aerial of Chicago with the South Side in the foreground and selected study sites

Design 2015-2016


Finally, all urban design fra developed on specific de pedestrian circulation, vehicu and connectivity, potential lan of public transport.

These urban design framew alternatives to the official Oba

Mudd folio final 02 mar 2016  
Mudd folio final 02 mar 2016  

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