- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When it comes to architecture, everyone’s a critic, as witnessed most recently by the Obama Presidential Center.

The distinctive design of the tribute to the 44th president has been compared unfavorably to a giant toenail.

Writing in the Chicago Tribune, columnist Ron Grossman said the library “evokes a soft-boiled egg in a giant eggcup.”

“My problem isn’t the design, though the centerpiece is a tower, heavy around the midsection and tapering to a narrow top and bottom,” Mr. Grossman wrote.

On Twitter, Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold said the pear-shaped white building reminds him of a “giant toenail”— and the surrounding campus, a putt-putt course.


SEE ALSO: Obama plans for presidential library at odds with community organizer




The Obama Foundation released a revised design for the center on Wednesday.

The project has come under fire from community activists, conservationists and academics who are concerned about the location of the presidential library and whether it will have the desired effect on economic development in the area.

The center will annex more than 20 acres from Jackson Park, an urban park on the National Register of Historic Places designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architects behind New York City’s famed Central Park.

Charles A. Birnbaum, president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit, said the library’s design goes against Olmsted’s wish that any additional structures “be auxiliary to and subordinate to the scenery of the park.”

“We remain steadfast in our opposition to the confiscation of public parkland for the Obama Presidential Center, which is a private facility,” Mr. Birnbaum said in a statement.

More than 100 faculty at the University of Chicago signed a public letter this week asking the Obama Foundation to move the library to a neighborhood more in need of economic development and with public transportation in place.

The center’s current location is on the shoreline overlooking Lake Michigan. The private facility will cost taxpayers as much as $100 million in infrastructure renovations to the surrounding area.

“We urge the Obama Foundation to explore alternative sites on the South Side that could be developed with more economic benefits, better public transportation, and less cost to taxpayers,” the professors wrote.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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