Snøhetta, Studio Gang and Henning Larsen have unveiled their designs for the new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota. The teams were selected from 12 firms, and the final design will be made to respond to the ecology of the Badlands. The three proposals showcase integrated architecture and landscape approaches designed to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt’s life.
As the Henning Larsen + Nelson Byrd Woltz design team states, their design is inspired by the rich landscapes of the North Dakotan Badlands, united by Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy, and rooted in the community of Medora. "Our vision for the project is rooted in the landscape and community that Roosevelt came to love – a landscape and community as rich and resilient today as it was when Roosevelt lived in it nearly 150 years ago." The design fuses the landscape and building with four volumes, each a formal reference to the geography of the Badlands.
Snøhetta’s design for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is informed by the President’s personal reflections on the landscape, his interest in environmental stewardship, and periods of quiet introspection and civic engagement. "The design of the Library is more than a building, it is a journey preserving the existing landscape of diverse habitats punctuated with small pavilions allowing for reflection and activity." The main building is defined by its roof rising from the butte, echoing the landforms of the surrounding Badlands while a covered porch overlooks the nearby valleys.
Studio Gang and OLIN’s Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is conceived as a "basecamp embedded in the North Dakota Badlands." The building is composed of three, horseshoe-shaped elements that organize the different functions of the Library. "Each horseshoe houses the distinct activities on the inside while simultaneously embracing the dramatic outdoor environment, creating protected gardens and terraces." At the building’s core, the three horseshoes tilt upward to form a dome-like central space.
There are currently 13 Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives, which serve as the archives and museum for the legacy of each of the respective administrations. In addition, there are private Presidential Libraries and Museums throughout the U.S., including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Jefferson Library. The competition, run by the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, selected three finalists to further develop designs in late May, 2020. The winning design will be selected in late September 2020.