CHICAGO, Il. – The Obama Foundation, a nonprofit corporation tasked with overseeing the design and construction of President Barack Obama’s presidential library, has released a preliminary set of blueprints detailing the sprawling repository meant to house important papers, records, and other historical items related to the 44th President of the United States.
Set in Chicago’s historic Jackson Park, the site of the 1893 World’s Fair, the Obama Presidential Center has an estimated budget of $900 million and was designed as a “more modern and elegant” version of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, North Korea, according to Reginald Lee, a Chicago-based architect with firsthand knowledge of the project.
The immense presidential library is the first of its kind to be constructed entirely out of Italian marble. Its main hall, aptly named the Grand Hall, boasts a vaulted glass ceiling reaching upwards of ninety feet at its peak. With a capacity to accommodate up to two thousand four hundred visitors, the Grand Hall will feature four prominently displayed twenty-foot tall solid gold statues depicting President Obama, the First Lady, and their two children, Malia and Natasha.
The Obama Foundation is expected to maintain much of the greenery already present on the five hundred acre park and, according to Lee, plans to further expand the greenspace to include community gardens and a wide moat around the perimeter. “We felt the presence of a moat would serve to offer a sense of great significance to the library itself while keeping unwanted visitors – such as protesters or vandals – out,” Lee explained.
Unlike other U.S. presidential facilities, the Obama Presidential Center will also include a subterranean mausoleum constructed of twenty-inch thick blast-resistant steel where, upon his passing, the 44th President of the United States will be laid to rest surrounded by mementos and awards highlighting his numerous achievements.
“This is something President Obama has been quite insistent on,” said Lee, who met with the President last week to finalize plans for the center. Lee told Real News Right Now that upon his death, President Obama’s body will embalmed and placed inside a glass sarcophagus where it will remain on display in the center’s Grand Hall for one year, after which it will be permanently relocated to the mausoleum. The Obama Presidential Center is scheduled to open in 2021.