Exactly one month after three prospective designs were revealed for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, to be built in the Badlands of North Dakota, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation (TRPLF) has chosen a winner: Snøhetta.
The winning design, a timber-framed structure that gently rises from the rugged landscape a mile-and-a-half from the nearby town of Medora like a natural rock formation, was reportedly informed by the 26th president’s “commitment to environmental stewardship.”
“When designing a new project, we think about how we can more give to the site or community more than is initially asked of us,” said Snøhetta founding partner Craig Dykers in a press release. “We integrated the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library into the landscape of the North Dakota Badlands. We still have much to learn about President Roosevelt, and we’re looking forward to working with the Medora community and the broader project team to translate this knowledge into an immersive place to learn about T.R.’s life and legacy.”
The new presidential library will abut and look over Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and, thanks to a dusting of precipitous observation pavilions around the central library, provide expansive views over the geologically varied landscape. The central building, pavilions, landscape, and “Library Loop” (a trail formed from raised walkways that branch to smaller local paths and the 144-mile-long Maah Daah Hey Trail) will form the entirety of the library.
This summer, all three shortlisted teams (Snøhetta; Studio Gang and OLIN; and Henning Larsen with Nelson Byrd Woltz) flew to Medora to examine the site and meet with officials and local stakeholders. While Snøhetta’s local partner hasn’t been announced yet, the firm will reportedly work with a North Dakota–based practice to realize the project. From the renderings and accompanying announcement, it seems the team will be using locally sourced timber to build out the partially subterranean library. The project is intended to be an all-year tourist destination, a particularly difficult feat given North Dakota’s extreme summer heat, frigid winter lows, and occasional tornadoes. To that end, the library’s submerged but open-ended structure is intended, according to Snøhetta, to stand up to whatever the harsh climate has in store.
The TRPLF is trying to raise $100 million in private donations by next year, and if successful, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is expected to open in either 2024 or 2025.