The Obama Presidential Center, the facility that the former president and first lady have planned for Chicago’s Jackson Park, may just be the first presidential library to include an athletic component. Nike has committed $5 million dollars to the Obama Foundation with the intent of creating a public space for physical activity on the presidential center’s grounds.
Plans for how this athletic component have yet to take shape, according to a report in Forbes. However, the designers of the Obama Presidential Center, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners (TWBTA), have reportedly traveled to Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, suggesting the athletic apparel giant will take part in discussions over the design.
According to the Obama Foundation website, the Program & Athletic Center will invite the community to take part in physical activity year round, highlighting the importance of teamwork and exercise through sports. It will provide opportunities for programming partnerships with local institutions, including Hyde Park Academy, the South Side YMCA and the Chicago Park District Field House. Like the rest of the presidential library, the Program & Athletic Center will be open to the public.
TWBTA are partnering with Interactive Design Architects on the architecture and design of the Obama Presidential Center. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will lead the landscape architect team in partnership with Site Design Group and Living Habitats, two Chicago-based firms. Controversially, the Obama Presidential Center will be sited within historic Jackson Park. However, initial plans promise that the center will occupy less than 20 acres of the 547-acre park, with built structures occupying less than 3 acres; improvements to how streets run through the park may in the end result in a net gain of open space.