The Presidents House is designed by Kelly/Maiello Architects, which won the project in a national competition in 2007. To be located in Independence National Historic Park, the birthplace of America’s independence, the design marks the footprint of the original building and includes architectural elements of the house, such as the entrance protal, fireplace, chairs and kitchen. Currently under construction, the $8.5 million project is set to open 4 July 2010. But before it does some like the Independence Hall Association, a partner in the project which claims the plans were not properly vetted, would like to see changes made. Those changes include changing the project's octagonal window to a bow (said to the be model for the Oval Office rooms in the White House), moving the memorial’s front wall a couple of feet and changing the location of the slave quarters.
Emanuel Kelly, the designer of the memorial, told the city’s newspaper the Philadelphia Inquirer last week that he was 'flabbergasted' by the vehemence of the criticism. Kelly, who has his share of supporters, said his design was based on a drawing provided by Edward Lawler, a historian involved with the project who is highly critical of it's design, and on 18th Century plans and surveys. In the article, Kelly conceded he made changes to plans to provide access for the disabled but maintained he has conducted his business in the open.
Rosalyn McPherson, who manages the project for the city, said a meeting of the formal Oversight Committee would be held to discuss the matter further.