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Thread: Robert A.M. Stern to design Bush Library Center at SMU

  1. #1

    Default Robert A.M. Stern to design Bush Library Center at SMU

    SMU chosen as site for Bush's presidential library

    HOUSTON (Reuters) - Southern Methodist University in Dallas has been selected as the home for U.S. President George W. Bush's presidential library, the school said on Friday.

    The university had been widely seen as the front-runner to house the facilities which will consist of a library for the Bush administration's documents, a museum and a public policy institute.

    Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale University School of Architecture, will design the buildings.

    Last year, a group of Methodist ministers urged SMU to reject any plans to build the library, saying Bush's stance on issues such as preemptive war conflicted with those of the church. Despite that, the university's board continued its seven-year effort to lure the library to the campus.

    SMU was founded in 1911 by a predecessor of the United Methodist Church.

    First lady Laura Bush graduated from the private university in 1968 and is on its board of trustees. The other Texas schools that had been in contention included Baylor University in Waco and the University of Dallas.

    (Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston, editing by Vicki Allen)

    © Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

    The president and Mrs. Bush decided on Mr. Stern after meeting him Aug. 23 at their ranch in Crawford as reported in The Dallas Morning News, Aug. 29, 2007.
    "The president, if he were here, he'd say, 'Eventually people will not be so interested in George W. Bush but they will be interested in the ideas, the forums and debates and things that can occur,' " Mr. Stern said. "So I think he and I are on the absolute same wavelength in that respect."

    Mr. Stern, ...said he was still formulating his vision for a building that, based on the selection panel directive, must incorporate the "spirit" of Mr. Bush's presidency.

    "That's the million, the billion-dollar question in these days," he said. "We have to make a building that's very open and welcoming to people that is at the same time dignified. We also want to make a building that is sympathetic to the wonderful architecture of the SMU campus and yet be its own building at the same time."

    He did not present an actual design or model to the selection panel, and he would not discuss the possible location. But he said, "There's a wonderful site available for the library that will have more than enough space to meet its needs."


    The initial solicitation letter, a copy of which The Dallas Morning News obtained earlier, called for proposals based on a location "adjacent to the SMU campus" – probably in its southeast quadrant. The panel's guidelines call for a pair of buildings – a 145,000-square-foot library and a 40,000-square-foot public policy institute.

    Mr. Stern said housing the library and public policy institute separately makes sense because of security requirements.

    "We're really all thinking about, including the president and Mrs. Bush, is sort of a campus, a mini campus, where different parts function on their own terms," he said. "The institute we'd like to have open ... so we don't want to send them [students and faculty] through an incredible, tortured, complicated circulation to a museum and library."


    Official press release:

    February 22, 2008

    SMU Chosen As Site Of Bush Presidential Library

    DALLAS (SMU) – The George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation today announced that SMU in Dallas has been chosen as the site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, consisting of a library, museum and institute.

    President Bush said in a letter to SMU President R. Gerald Turner: “I look forward to the day when both the general public and scholars come and explore the important and challenging issues our nation has faced during my presidency—from economic and homeland security to fighting terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy.”

    Meeting Feb. 22 in Dallas, the SMU Board of Trustees unanimously approved an agreement with the Foundation to locate the Center at SMU.

    “It’s a great honor for SMU to be chosen as the site of this tremendous resource for historical research, dialogue and public programs,” said SMU President Turner. “At SMU, these resources will benefit from proximity to our strong academic programs, a tradition of open dialogue, experience hosting world leaders and a central location in a global American city. We thank President Bush for entrusting this important long-term resource to our community, and for the opportunity for SMU to serve the nation in this special way.”

    “The Foundation is excited to partner with SMU in the development of this important civic institution. We are delighted that it will be in the international city of Greater Dallas and in a city that has played such an important role in the lives of the President and First Lady,” said Don Evans, Chairman of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

    The Presidential Center will be located on the east side of the main SMU campus, adjacent to North Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75) and SMU Boulevard. This location positions the Center within the context of SMU’s park-like Collegiate Georgian setting—“a major historic university campus,” said Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale University School of Architecture and the selected architect for the Bush Presidential Center. The exact location and dimensions will be determined based on design and landscape specifications.

    The three-part Presidential Center will consist of the presidential library, containing documents and artifacts of the Bush Administration; a museum with permanent and traveling exhibits; and an independent public policy institute. Once constructed, the library and museum will be operated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

    “At SMU, the George W. Bush Presidential Center will be associated with a university that is on the rise. With this added benefit to an SMU education, we will attract additional outstanding students and faculty,” said Dallas business leader Carl Sewell, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees. “Securing this library represents an important step forward in academic achievement for SMU and for our service to Dallas and the nation.”

    According to the agreement between SMU and the Foundation, SMU was chosen because of its “excellent academic reputation; the University’s presence in Dallas; the strong support of the University’s leaders, alumni and friends for the Library Center facilities being located at the University”; and SMU’s willingness to lease land for the project.

    “The Presidential Library Center will offer unmatched opportunities to interact with officials who have shaped public policy in this era and with scholars who will write its history,” said Gary Evans, professor of electrical engineering, president of the Faculty Senate and SMU Board of Trustees member. “The Center’s resources and programs will be invaluable to national and international researchers and scholars, including those at SMU.”

    To facilitate ongoing interaction and collaboration between the University and the Presidential Center, a governance system has been established. The Foundation will be led by a Board of Directors of three to 12 members, elected annually, including two members appointed by SMU. The Institute will be governed by a Board of Directors of from three to nine members, elected annually. If the Institute Board consists of five or fewer members, SMU will appoint one member; if more than five, SMU will have two members. SMU and the Institute also will establish an Academic Advisory Committee with representatives from the University and the Foundation to explore joint programming opportunities.

    Fund-raising for the Bush Presidential Center will be conducted by the George W. Bush Foundation through its Organizing Committee and in collaboration with SMU.

    “SMU is committed to being supportive of fund-raising for the Bush Library Center, and will work in concert with the Foundation during our upcoming major gifts campaign for endowments supporting students, faculty, academic programs and our unique campus experience,” Turner said. “Working with the fund-raising effort of the Presidential Center will introduce us to new audiences who otherwise would not know about SMU’s strengths and potential.”

    SMU was among eight competitors for the Bush Presidential Library project in a process unprecedented in the history of presidential libraries for its depth and inclusiveness. On December 22, 2006, the Library Site Selection Committee announced that it was focusing on SMU for final discussions as the potential site. Since that time Committee members and University representatives have met to work out project details and operating agreements.

    SMU’s Board of Trustees Library Committee was co-chaired by President R. Gerald Turner and Ray L. Hunt and also included Board chair Carl Sewell and trustees Jeanne L. Phillips and Michael Boone. The committee consulted regularly with the full Board of Trustees, which includes representatives from the faculty, student body, alumni board and The United Methodist Church.

    Approaching 100-year milestones, SMU was founded in 1911 by what is now The United Methodist Church, and opened in 1915. SMU is nonsectarian in its teaching and committed to academic freedom.

    “The United Methodist tradition in higher education values open dialogue and diverse opinions as we debate the great issues of our time within the context of our faith community,” said Bishop Scott Jones, president of the College of Bishops of the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church and an SMU trustee. “The Presidential Library Center will be a unique resource for that inquiry. It will enhance SMU’s strong commitment to the Wesleyan tradition of academic excellence. In addition, we are pleased to welcome President and Mrs. Bush, two members of The United Methodist Church, back to the Dallas community.”

    SMU is a private institution with seven degree-granting schools in the humanities and sciences; engineering; performing, visual and communication arts; business; education and human development; law; and theology. SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students from all 50 states and nearly 90 foreign countries. Minority students make up about 21 percent of the student body.

    Located five miles north of downtown Dallas, the main SMU campus consists of 76 buildings on 210 acres. A light rail station is nearby, and library construction plans include parking for at least 400 vehicles. In addition to the main campus in Dallas, the University offers programs at SMU-in-Legacy in Plano north of Dallas, and at a campus near Taos, New Mexico.

    The University has a history of hosting national and world leaders for lectures and other campus events. These have included former and sitting U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors and heads of state.

    SMU has about 100,000 alumni worldwide, with about 40,000 located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    Home to more than five million residents, the Dallas Metroplex attracts about 25 million visitors a year and an additional 3.5 million annually for conventions. The central city is enjoying a cultural renaissance with new museums and performing arts venues constructed or in progress. The Metroplex is served by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which accommodates 59 million passengers a year, and Love Field, serving six million passengers annually and located only 15 minutes from the SMU campus.


    SMU image gallery


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  3. #3
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Southern Methodist University in Dallas has been selected as the home for U.S. President George W. Bush's presidential library ...

    ... positions the Center within the context of SMU’s park-like Collegiate Georgian setting ...
    How appropriate.

    Although, given GWB's politics, it might be more fitting if the library were to be done in a NEO-Georgian style.

  4. #4


    I understand it will have the entire collection.

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Bar is so proud of her boy.

    She's already started pulling herself together for the big gala opening ...

  6. #6


    A teaming of the great faux forces in their respective professions - Mr. Bush and Mr. Stern.


  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2005


    Will they have anything to put in the library? Haven't they destroyed all the evidence already?

  8. #8
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Stern should use stacked FEMA trailers.

    Imagine what kind of security surveillance will be employed.

  9. #9
    King Omega XVI OmegaNYC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Clifton, NJ


    Wait they're building Bush a library? I thought the guy couldn't read...

    Though, I'm sure this would be popular:

  10. #10


    Excerpts from a Newsweek article written last year:

    Picking the President’s Architect

    Robert A.M. Stern will design Bush's presidential library and 'Freedom Center,' so think conservative and traditional

    By Cathleen McGuigan | Newsweek Web Exclusive
    Sep 6, 2007 | Updated: 4:32 p.m. ET Dec 12, 2007

    In Robert Draper's new book about the Bush presidency, "Dead Certain," George W. Bush muses about the "fantastic Freedom Institute" he wants to establish after he leaves office, where young democratic leaders from around the world could gather. …"You know, the president has a very good sense of humor," says Stern, "and I'm not bad myself, so it was basically who was overlooking whom. He said, 'Am I here to look you over, or are you here to look me over?' And I said, 'I think I'm here to be looked over'."

    … Stern is also dean of architecture at Bush's alma mater, Yale, and the author of a number of books of architectural history. He once advised Michael Eisner on architectural fantasies for the Disney company and served on the board of directors. Most important, Stern's design sympathies tend toward the conservative and traditional. …

    When word got out last year that SMU might become the home of the Bush library, a controversy broke out among the faculty—particularly over the politics of the Freedom Institute.

    … For Stern politics aren't an issue. "I am building a library for the president of the United States," he says. "He represents us all." Though the architect refuses to say whether he voted for Bush—"I never discuss who I vote for with anyone"—he does say this: "I admire George Bush. I like him. I think a lot of the things he's done are great."

    © 2007 Newsweek, Inc.

  11. #11


    The Back-of-the-Envelope Design Contest

    We asked readers to sketch their own visions for the George W. Bush Library

  12. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonik View Post
    The Back-of-the-Envelope Design Contest

    We asked readers to sketch their own visions for the George W. Bush Library
    That's the spirit!

  13. #13


    Hell of an honor

    I wonder if any architects would have declined this offer?

  14. #14


    you guys forgot his most infamous read:

    "The Pet Goat"

  15. #15


    Joan and Sanford Weill Hall Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan - Robert A.M. Stern. 2006

    Bush library moving forward at SMU

    All facets of the planned Bush Presidential Library on the SMU campus will go forward, despite another attempt to block a segment of the development.

    This video is from CBS 11 Dallas, broadcast July 16, 2008.

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