Joel Solkoff’s Column Vol. IV, Number 1

President Obama Presidential Library Chicago, Zaha Hadid Architecture Review, US Design

President Obama Presidential Library in Illinois + Zaha Hadid’s Eulogy

Architectural Column Vol. IV, Number 1 by Joel Solkoff, PA, USA

15 Jul 2016

President Barack Obama Presidential Library in Illinois + Zaha Hadid’s Eulogy

Joel’s Column Vol. IV, Number 1

Joel Solkoff’s Column – Volume IV, No. 1

Column by Joel Solkoff, PA, USA

Writing on architects plus their role in the imminent/now-already-here global Baby Boom housing crisis

Joel’s Column Vol. IV, Number 1, July 11, 2016

President Obama announces architects to design his Presidential Library in Illinois, not coincidentally “the land of Lincoln”; plus preparing for Zaha Hadid’s eulogy; she died two weeks before my granddaughter was born

Yes, it has been a long time.

First, President Obama’s architect.

I received an email, The Obama Foundation was writing: the subject was “President Obama’s architects.” The email explained because I had been a contributor, the President wanted me to read the email; so I did.

I will get back to Frank Sinatra. The intriguing follow-the-link trail led to this

American building
photograph courtesy the Obama Foundation

The Obama Presidential Center Building will be on the South Side of Chicago. The President’s first Chief of Staff (Amazon labels “the second most powerful office in the United States”) is from Chicago. After leaving the President, Rom Emanuel went on to become Mayor of Chicago, a very powerful job. Chicago has massive building projects. The Mayor plays a significant role in determining which architects receive the winning bid.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama look out at the city skyline and Lake Michigan after arriving at the Burnham Park landing zone in Chicago, Illinois, June 15, 2012:
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama look out at the city skyline
Official White House photo : Pete Souza

To highlight the impact of Chicago on President Obama’s career and aspirations, the Chairman of the Obama Foundation is Martin Nesbitt

Martin Nesbitt (so writes Wikipedia):

“Martin ‘Marty’ Nesbitt is a U. S. businessman who is the founder and chief executive officer of The Parking Spot, a Chicago-based airport parking company. He also served on the board of the Chicago Housing Authority. Nesbitt is a close personal friend of U. S. President Barack Obama and was the campaign treasurer during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.”


This means I will have to interview architects who…

This means I will have to interview architects who design parking garages. Nesbitt went into partnership with Penny Pritzker to construct the parking lots. See below: “The 38th Secretary of Commerce is Penny Pritzker.”

The lead architect to build President Obama’s Library is Todd Williams

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

TOD WILLIAMS and BILLIE TSIEN direct this firm. Todd Williams is in charge of the Obama Library.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
photograph courtesy Todd Wiliams et alia

published courtesy of YouTube which publishes President Obama’s video under the terms of the Standard YouTube License

Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House

Guangzhou Opera House Guangzhou Opera House Guangzhou Opera House Guangzhou Opera House
Guangzhou Opera House photos : Virgile Simon Bertrand

Guangzhou Opera House Building

The Big Three—not as much a digression as you might think

Nesbitt’s wife is the U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Juliet Mae Philips

My granddaughter is Juliet Mae Philips. Juliet’s maternal grandmother is Diana Bass. Diana is the recipient of the prestigious bronze medal at a special ceremony in which the Secretary of Commerce presented the medal to Diana. Diana was awarded the medal for her participation in bilateral trade negotiations with China. [Just though I would mention it.]

Meanwhile, I am preparing for my granddaughter’s future. I want Juliet to become an architect.


United States Secretary of Commerce

Wikipedia: “The United States Secretary of Commerce is the head of the United States Department of Commerce. The Secretary is appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the United States Senate and serves at the President’s pleasure.”.

The 38th Secretary of Commerce is Penny Pritzker

38th Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
screenshot by Joel Solkoff

The 38th Secretary of Commerce is Penny Pritzker.


Zaha Hadid’s Eulogy Preparation

Architect Zaha Hadid died March 31,2016. She died in Miami Beach, Florida where I lived for ten years. Her genius for designing buildings that not only fit in to the surrounding community, her 1000 Museum dominates the community and as gently as you might expect for a building that has a helicopter pad on the roof.

The day after Zaha died, I called the London office and spoke with Zaha’s architect of 1000 Museum. I also spoke to Zaha’s excellent senior press officer Roger Howie.

Wikipedia: “Her acclaimed work and ground-breaking forms include the aquatic center for the London 2012 Olympics, the Broad Art Museum in the U.S., and the Guangzhou Opera House, in China.

The Secretary of Commerce for whom I wrote a speech

Female United States Cabinet Secretaries:
Female United States Cabinet Secretaries
screenshot by Joel Solkoff

Juanita J. Crepps, during my years in Washington, she was a Secretary of Commerce I adored.

Wikipedia: “Clara Juanita Morris Kreps

On rescinding the no-politics Joel’s Column pledge

Hitherto; Joel’s Column eschewed politics except on local non-partisan issues. An example of my eschewing politics is the conversation I had with the office of the governor of Wyoming. This was a while back. I was interested in the governor’s plan to improve Wi/Wfi service in the state. I told the governor’s press officer Joel’s column is not interested in politics. That is no longer the case.Henceforth, Joel’s Column will discuss politics especially understanding politics on all levels helpful in architects obtaining acceptance for one’s designs.


Infrastructure in the U.S. is crumbling. In booming Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,. for example, commuters have to cross a decaying bridge. Pieces of the bridge have hit motorists as they drive to work. Maintenance crews are working overtime to install netting to protect motorists as they go to work.

Infrasture is an essential concern when competing for architecture projects in the U.S. The architectural critic Lewis Mumford said, “A building should not stand out. It should fit in.” This is especially problematic when (as the expression goes) “You can’t get there from here.”


President of the United States Barack Obama:
President of the United States Barack Obama

My editors beckon: “All right, stop writing, Joel.”

Isabelle Lomholt and Adrian Welch, Editors at e-architect:
Isabelle Lomholt and Adrian Welch at e-architect

Alright Isabelle and Adrian

Good night and good luck, as Greensboro, North Carolina born Edward R. Morrow used to say.


Please write: jsolkoff(at)

Copyright © 2016 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

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Comments / photos for the President Obama Presidential Library in Illinois + Zaha Hadid’s Eulogy – page welcome

President Obama Presidential Library in Illinois + Zaha Hadid’s Eulogy

Website: Barack Obama Presidential Library