Barack Obama Presidential Center in Hawaii

Barack Obama Presidential Center, Hawaii Design, Architecture, Building, Architect, America, Images

Barack Obama Presidential Center

Contemporary Pacific Building, USA – design by Snøhetta, architects

8 Jan 2015

Barack Obama Presidential Center in Hawaii

Location: Hawaii, USA

Design: Snøhetta

Hānau ka ‘uku-ko‘ako‘a, hānau kana, he ‘āko‘ako‘a, puka

Born the coral polyp. Born of him the coral colony emerged
– the Kumulipo

Within the Kumulipo, a Hawaiian creation chant, theorigin of life begins with ‘āko‘ako‘a, a single coral polyp which evolves into the land and all life that inhabits it. This notion of coral as a diverse collective of individuals growing over generations illustrates the ambitions of the Barack Obama Presidential Center to become a catalyst for growth and community in Hawai‘i, where the president was born and raised. Much like the polyp, the Center has the unique opportunity to create a new environment that encourages assembly and creates shared community resources.

Barack Obama Presidential Center

Inspired by the forms of a coral reef, Snøhetta and WCITArchitecture’s design for the Center is shaped around a central courtyard, providing a collective entry point and shared public space. The structure is both building and landscape with a sloping roof emerging from the ground which invites visitors to walk up to an elevated public terrace with unobstructed views of the famed Point Panic surf break, the Honolulu skyline, and iconic Diamond Head in the distance. The lifted building mass references the undulating terrain of the surrounding park to create framed views and shaded public spaces while also mitigating coastal risks.

Snøhetta and WCITARCHITECTURE’s design proposal for the Barack Obama Presidential Center Based on the Hawaiian ahupua‘a system of resource management, the design incorporates sustainable solutions in the performance and program of the building.

Barack Obama Presidential Center

The landscape design includes interactive educational environments such as the White House Garden, fish ponds, taro fields, and salt pans to promote understanding of traditional practices and renew kinship with the land. The occupiable roof also supports a photovoltaic panel system to generate on-site renewable energy. The roof’s upward spiraling shape allows rainwater to be collected and flow down through the roof gardens for filtration before entering rainwater storage for later use in irrigating the edible gardens and feeding the fishponds. To offset potable water demands, an engineered wetland in the central courtyard is proposed to treat waste water for recycling at the Center.

Barack Obama Presidential Center

The Barack Obama Presidential Center will house exhibit spaces to share the life and legacy of the president, Executive offices for the Barack Obama Foundation, as well as shared meeting rooms and administrative facilities for an affiliated Leadership Academy, Convening Institute, and University of Hawai‘i Center for Community Organizing.

Among the many public spaces housed in the new Center, restaurant and event spaces on the ground floor open onto large covered outdoor terraces with oceanfront views.

Barack Obama Presidential Center

he pūko‘a kani ‘āina – the coral becomes an island

Barack Obama Presidential Center in Hawaii images / information from Snøhetta

Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago – Architects Shortlist announced Dec 2015


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




Hawaii Buildings

Contemporary Hawaii Architectural Projects, chronological:

Hawaii Architecture Designs – chronological list

Clifftop House Maui

Tommy Bahama Honolulu Restaurant in Waikiki

Kona Residence Hawaii
New Residence in Hawaii

Hawaii Buildings

American Architecture
American Concert Hall Building
photo © Andrew McRae

American Architects




Photos for the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Hawaii page welcome

Barack Obama Presidential Center in Hawaii : page

Website : Snøhetta

Website : WCITArchitecture