Snøhetta Wins Roosevelt Library Competition

John Hill
18. September 2020
Image courtesy of Snøhetta

In a unanimous vote, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation has selected Snøhetta to design a presidential library dedicated to the 26th President of the United States, to be located in Medora, North Dakota.

Snøhetta, based in Oslo and New York, bested two other finalists — Henning Larsen and Studio Gang — in the competition that launched last December. The foundation selected fourteen teams from a pool of around forty in April, and then it selected the three finalists in May. Their designs were released to the public in August, one month before today's announcement of the winner.

Image courtesy of Snøhetta

The library will be located near the entrance to the 70,000-acre Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands, a naturally distinctive area important important to Roosevelt, who visited almost every year from the 1880s to his death in 1919. 

Image courtesy of Snøhetta

According to Melani Walton, who chaired the foundation's Design + Architecture Committee:

"Snøhetta’s thoughtful design captures the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt and why he came to the Badlands. T.R. came to North Dakota for solace and solitude; the Badlands healed and renewed him, and gave rise to a newfound resiliency. In return, T.R. led our country as the 26th president and dramatically expanded our national park system. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation is confident Snøhetta can carry T.R.’s legacy to future generations."

Image courtesy of Snøhetta

Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta, explains their winning design:

"When designing a new project, we think about how we can more give to the site or community than is initially asked of us. We integrated the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library into the landscape of the North Dakota Badlands. The main library building rises from the butte, echoing the surrounding landforms. Visitors are invited on a journey through a preserved landscape of diverse habitats, punctuated with small pavilions providing spaces for reflection and activity. 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."

Image courtesy of Snøhetta

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will be the 15th presidential library in the United States but the first one designed by a firm with roots outside of the United States. Snøhetta is teaming up with North Dakota's J.E. Dunn, which will serve as construction manager, though a local architect has yet to be determined.

Image courtesy of Snøhetta

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