On Thursday, all the universities that would like to host President Obama's presidential library had to submit their bids.
The University of Chicago and Columbia University have always been regarded as the frontrunners in the next big presidential race before the 2016 presidential race; the University of Illinois at Chicago is competing with the University of Chicago, but is slightly behind in the rankings. The Chicago schools have former Obama chief of staff and current Windy City mayor Rahm Emanuel trying to entice the president. The University of Chicago is playing up the fact that the Obama presidential bid began in Chicago, going so far as to acquire the rights for Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" as a secret weapon for their library campaign. The proposed site in New York, in West Harlem, has been approved for the library, giving them a headstart in that department.
The big underdog in the race is the University of Hawaii — and they have been especially open in explaining their proposal to the public, realizing they have stiff competition in the contiguous United States. They have commissioned three designs for the library to help those looking over the proposals imagine how awesome a presidential library on the beach might be. And they want to make sure you know that they want to build the first ever presidential library on the BEACH.
“You can't beat waterfront land in Honolulu, with all due respect for the other cities,” Sen. Brian Schatz told the Associated Press.
The design above, by Allied Works Architecture, takes note of the palm trees that would surround the library.
The one below, by Snohetta/WCIT Architecture, reminds the presidential library committee that they could build a library next to a volcano -- albeit one that is inactive and which geologists think will probably never erupt again.
The third design, by MOS/WORKSHOP-HI, features cartoon people playing ukuleles.
None of the other presidential proposals have palm trees, volcanoes or cartoon people playing ukuleles.
Did they mention the ocean? No existing presidential library is near the ocean.
The Hawaii folks have a Web site that talks about all of the reasons there should be a presidential library on a beach, including the fact that they plan to host the sequel to Michelle Obama's White House vegetable garden as well as a leadership academy and several other offshoots that would make the library on the beach much more than just a library on the beach. It would be a presidential center on the beach.
Here are a bunch of people, many wearing Hawaiian shirts, talking about the specifics of the process.
However, their extensive plan does not include a video of people playing word association and saying "reading presidential papers!" when given the prompt, "beach."
Correction: This post initially referred to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) as a House member.