Architecture & Real Estate | August 25, 2020 6:00 am

Proposed Designs Revealed for Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

Where the nation's past meets the future of design

TRPL - Proposal Studio Gang
A proposed design for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.
Studio Gang

Some function as museums; others are primarily research institutions. The presidential libraries found around the country preserve the histories and legacies of 13 of the nation’s heads of state. Keen-eyed readers will note that there have been more presidents than that, and there’s presently an effort underway to create the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, a state which played a significant part in his personal development.

Writing at the library’s website, CEO Edward F. O’Keefe offered a vision of the space. “The T.R. Presidential Library & Museum will not be a box in the Badlands with artifacts under glass; the T.R. Library, like T.R.’s life, will be an experience,” he wrote. But this begs the question: if it’s not a “box in the Badlands,” just what will it look like?

Well, now we have an answer — or, at least, a few possible answers. Writing at Literary Hub, Corinne Segal notes that a trio of design proposals for the project have been made publicly available.

The three firms shortlisted for the library are Studio Gang, Henning Larsen and Snøhetta. All in all, 12 firms submitted proposals in response to an earlier request. According to an article at Dezeen, a winner will be announced sometime in September.

The library is slated to be built in the city of Medora, which borders Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The library designs are each distinctive, with Snøhetta’s also making use of renewable materials. Nonetheless, they also evoke the surrounding landscape in intriguing ways. Whichever option ends up being selected will offer future visitors a look at forward-thinking design even as it brings them into the past.

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