This is a proposal for the new Barack Obama Presidential Library located at Jackson Park in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is a city that is heavily defined by grid and frame, giving birth to the commonly known term of the “Chicago School” or “Chicago Frame.” Our proposal utilizes this existing architectural language of the context as a starting point to define a new speculative architectural language for the city of Chicago.

Our project addresses the dichotomy between two independent and highly incongruous architectural problems – the monolith and the frame. As frame meets monolith and monolith meets frame, a symbiotic interdependency is produced where the final form does not rely exclusively on one system. Instead, it relies on a unique equilibrium between monolith and frame. The monolith can be perceived as a solid, legible, and even an icon, yet the logic of its generation is rationalized by the basis of the frame as an extensive system. However, this is not achieved by the mere assimilation of these dichotomies but through the slippage of frame and mass to generate a misregistration of the whole.

As the dichotomies integrate, a mass is produced that is no longer constrained to the exterior but also begins to define the interior. The frame begins to push and pull with the mass to define the interior spatial logic and create a form that synergies both interior and exterior. Through the pushing and pulling of the frame, walls, columns and slabs are generated. Through this process, the space within the building becomes flexible where the grid becomes the spatial reference to define programs and the frame is utilized to generate the actual space.

students: Aaron Choi & Kaiho Yu
university: Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
instructor: Russell Thomsen, Marcelo Spina
assistant teacher: Dylan Krueger


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