Jeanne Gang’s Studio Gang firm was notably absent from the list of finalists competing for the Obama Presidential Center commission, but the Chicago architect may get to design a presidential library after all — not for No. 44 but for No. 26.
Studio Gang is one of three firms in the running to design the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in western North Dakota. Norwegian firm Snøhetta (which was an Obama Center finalist) and Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen are the other two finalists.
All three firms unveiled their proposals this week for public comment. The library’s board expects to announce the winning design in September.
The tentative preferred site is situated on a butte near the entry to Teddy Roosevelt National Park, a natural feature incorporated into all of the design plans.
For those wondering why there isn’t already a Teddy Roosevelt Library, Edward O’Keefe, CEO of the library’s foundation, asks and answers the question up front on the library’s website: Presidential libraries didn’t become a thing until after the death of the other Roosevelt — Franklin. There are only 13 presidential libraries (not counting the Obama Center in progress).
Studio Gang, in partnership with the landscape architecture firm OLIN, has conceived of the Roosevelt Library as a horseshoe-shaped basecamp embedded in the North Dakota Badlands.
“Like one of the Badlands’ fantastic rock formations, the building emerges from the land as if carved away by water and wind,” the firm’s design brief states. “Importantly, the design treats architecture and landscape as symbiotic and intimately connected with the site’s greater ecology.”
Check out images from the various proposals.