In 2014, Allied Works was selected as one of three firms create a vision for the University of Hawaii’s Obama Presidential Library and serve as headquarters for the President’s foundation. Collectively, the Presidential Center would combine library, archive and workspace with space for events, exhibitions and a leadership academy on a site overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The design for the Center amplifies the forces of its site to form spaces of protection and connection. A continuous roof creates forms of structure and light, providing shelter for a chain of interior volumes and exterior landscape courts below. These elements tether the Center to the surrounding city and parkland, and welcome a broad audience comprised of community residents, scholars, and visiting dignitaries. The landscape of the neighboring waterfront park is extended into the building as a series of stepped terraces. The building follows the sloping site from east to west and allows for multiple points of access. The courts vary in scale to support a range of uses; each responds to its specific orientation and position, providing connection with the city, the park and the shoreline.
The functions of the center are housed in a series of transparent and flexible volumes focused on the adjacent landscape courts. These promote flow between interior and exterior space, and interaction among the different constituencies the center serves. Public and educational functions are distributed across the main level, while upper levels offer space for more focused study and the administrative functions of the Foundation.