PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Former First Lady Unveils Bush Library Design

November 18, 2009  


Former first lady Laura Bush, flanked by Bush Library President Mark Langdale (left) and SMU President R. Gerald Turner (right), points out features of the design plans for the Bush Presidential Center. (PHOTO BY CHRIS DELL / THE DAILY MUSTANG)

Former first lady Laura Bush, flanked by Bush Library President Mark Langdale (left) and SMU President R. Gerald Turner (right), points out features of the design plans for the Bush Presidential Center. (PHOTO BY CHRIS DELL / THE DAILY MUSTANG)


By Chris Dell
cdell@smu.edu

The public now knows what the vacant, dusty lot on the east side of the SMU campus will look like in the not-too-distant future.

Former first lady Laura Bush, architect Robert A.M. Stern and landscape architect Matthew Urbanski unveiled the design of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the surrounding landscape at the Collins Executive Center.

The library, to be finished in 2013, will be built on a falling slope, with the south side of the building standing three stories tall. The main entrance will be on the north side facing SMU Boulevard, with a public parking lot situated across the street. A west entrance will be approachable by foot from Binkley Avenue.

Stern, dean of the Yale University School of Architecture, called the library design “sort of Georgian.” SMU’s buildings follow a theme of Georgian architecture, an old European style characterized by rectangular windows and brick exteriors.

Bush said she wanted the library design to incorporate a rustic Georgian feel with more modern features.

“I like every bit of it,” said Bush, who chaired the design committee. “I wanted this to be a ‘forward’ building, because George was the first president of the 21st century, and have it be modern in that way. I think it will fit in with the Georgian campus.”

Library to be topped by “lantern”

The key feature of the building, according to Stern, will be Freedom Hall, an open room crowned by a 60-feet tall raised ceiling with wrap-around windows to let in sunlight. Stern called it the “lantern” that he hopes will become a symbol of the SMU campus, similar to the dome on top of Dallas Hall. Visitors also will be able to visit an exact-sized replica of the oval office, then exit to the Texas Rose Garden or visit other parts of the library.

Library architect Robert A.M. Stern, dean of Yale University School of Architecture, called the library design 'sort of Georgian.' (Robert A.M. Stern Architects).

Library architect Robert A.M. Stern, dean of Yale University School of Architecture, called the library design 'sort of Georgian.' (PHOTO COURTESY OF BUSH PRESIDENTIAL CENTER)

Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, said the content of the library and museum will be unveiled sometime next year. She hinted that a room dedicated to September 11 will be particularly moving.

Texas-themed landscaping will be south of the library, with a lacrosse field, football field and tennis courts located on the east side of Dublin Street near Mockingbird Lane.

Urbanski said the south-side landscaping will resemble a native Texas field, with bluebonnets and prairie grass surrounding footpaths and an ampatheater. On the north side, Urbanski said SMU Boulevard will be curved to slow down traffic, and a footpath will connect the main parking lot and the visitor entrance.

Turner discusses library entrance fees, sophomore housing

SMU president R. Gerald Turner said after the event that he hopes students and faculty will be able to enter the library “for free, or a very,very reduced amount.” He said, however, that the National Archives and Records Administration ultimately will determine how to handle pricing options. Also, the library will feature a café and restaurant, at which he hopes students can use their meal plans.

Turner also said he plans for sophomore housing to be located at the current site of the abandoned Mrs. Bairds Bread Factory and behind Park Cities Plaza. He hopes to break ground at those locations next year and have the residence halls finished in 2013.

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Comments

10 Responses to “PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Former First Lady Unveils Bush Library Design”

  1. kdk on November 18th, 2009 10:52 pm

    I am ashamed to have this structure in Dallas. I can’t imagine how SMU feels.

  2. Gary Gebhard on November 19th, 2009 12:23 pm

    That’s a pretty big space to house 4 books. I guess things are bigger in Texas.

  3. sjl on November 19th, 2009 1:52 pm

    Really? No President is perfect, but I think Bush did alright given what our country went through during his time as President.

  4. Leigh on November 20th, 2009 9:28 am

    How exciting to have such an honor at S.M.U. We are so proud to have such a fabulous tribute to President Bush in Dallas and it will no doubt be an asset to the beautiful S.M.U. campus. President Bush is a man of dignity , honor and integrity.

  5. Grover on November 20th, 2009 5:09 pm

    Anyone get the feeling “Leigh” may very likely be Laura Bush?

  6. kyl3 on November 20th, 2009 5:24 pm

    Leigh, take off the rosé colored glasses.

  7. Beaumont Jones on November 21st, 2009 10:48 am

    A library for Bush? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a Presidential Bike Trail?

  8. David Ball on January 21st, 2010 6:04 pm

    History will recall a man whose faith, strength, optimism and unswerving allegiance to American ideals and freedom led this country through some of her most challenging times. That man was George W. Bush. He didn’t blame others for problems he inherited. Instead he faced them head on with dignity, poise and integrity. Two constant features of the Bush presidency will surely be his belief in the American people and his heartfelt honor to serve them. The library that bears his name will be a place that so securely resonates the indomitable spirit of the American people and a true American hero- George W. Bush.

  9. Reality Check on July 29th, 2010 6:22 pm

    Calling Dubbya an “American hero” is like calling Deion Sanders a “great teammate” — could not be further from the truth.

    As an alumnus and former employee of SMU, I couldn’t be more embarrassed than to have that clown’s bookmobile on the campus of my alma mater.

  10. Michael on May 8th, 2011 11:23 am

    I am honored to have President Bush’s library in Dallas. I am proud of him as a man and as our President of the United States of America. He did a fine job as top leader and plan to visit the library in the future and I’m sure it will be a shrine for generations to come. Good job George W…..