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All-Star List of Architecture Firms In Running for Obama Library

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It's only been one week since the Obama Foundation formally announced the beginning of its search for the Obama Presidential Center architect, but the Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has already gotten a solid pulse on who is vying for the prestigious project. According to Kamin, an all-star cast is in the running for the design duties for the contest. While Obama Foundation head Martin Nesbitt and project consultant and noted architecture critic Paul Goldberger did not offer any names, they did suggest that the overall mix of firms asked to submit a Request for Qualifications was "pretty skewed" towards architects from the United States, and specifically Chicago. After being approached by Kamin, some outfits have confirmed their participation in the contest, but others have declined to comment.

According to a story published yesterday afternoon by Kamin, the list of those in the running include:

· JAHN Architects (Chicago)
· Tigerman McCurry Architects (Chicago)
· Ross Barney Architects (Chicago)
· Perkins+Will (Chicago office)
· JGMA (Chicago)
· Robert A.M. Stern Architects (New York)
· Ennead Architects (New York)
· Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York)
· Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (San Francisco office)
· Renzo Piano (Genova, Italy)

Of the aforementioned firms, JGMA led by Juan Gabriel Moreno was the only one that did not formally receive an invite from the Obama Foundation to submit a RFQ, but has decided to go ahead and enter the competition. In addition, Chicago's Studio Gang Architects and Los Angeles' Morphosis declined to comment on their participation in the contest. There's also no word from presumed front-runner David Adjaye.

Many of the architects invited to submit a RFQ for the job have recent notable projects throughout Chicago. Renzo Piano led the design for the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing which opened in 2009. The German-born but Chicago-based Helmut Jahn has designed many notable projects throughout the Chicago metro area, but might be best known for the Thompson Center in the Loop, the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare and the recently opened Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus. New York's Robert A.M. Stern Architects, known for their tall, slim, limestone-clad towers, are currently working with developer Related Midwest on a new mixed-use tower for the Streeterville neighborhood.

Architects looking to get into the race don't have much more time to wait. The Obama Foundation has set a September 16 deadline for RFQs for the Obama Presidential Center.

·Piano, Jahn among architects vying for Obama library [Tribune]
·The Obamas Launch Search for Presidential Center Architect [Curbed Chicago]
·All previous Obama Library coverage [Curbed Chicago]