The new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, with its huge curved roof and clifftop pavilions, might be mistaken for a boutique hotel, maybe even a stylish eco-retreat. The books inside will be the only giveaway that this is, in fact, a public library.
Set to open in Medora, North Dakota – right next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park – the library will house the former president's archive, and celebrate his conservation legacy. This will be the only presidential library located next to a national park, and it's hoped that its unique location will inspire visitors not only to enjoy books but to experience nature conservation first-hand.
"One of Theodore Roosevelt's most enduring legacies is conservation and our national parks," said Theodore Roosevelt V, a great-great-grandson of the 26th president. "This will be the only presidential library alongside a national park and the only national park alongside a presidential library. It will invite visitors to see and experience the very cradle of conservation. That is why this location in North Dakota is perfect for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library."
Norwegian architect Snøhetta has been selected as the winner of a competition to design the building; the same company who designed the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Oslo Opera House and the reconstruction of Times Square, among many others.
Using natural and sustainable materials, the library will be designed to blend in with the jagged hills of the Badlands in North Dakota. The building is made up of four sections and each phase looks out over a specific part of the unfolding landscape. A large tower, the Legacy Beacon, will become a landmark visible throughout the area to guide the way to the library for visitors. Its design includes jutting pavilions, a huge curved roof and adventure pathways that connect to the 96-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail.
Roosevelt is remembered for protecting approximately 230 million acres of public land during his term as president by creating the United States Forest Service, and establishing 150 national forests, five national parks and 51 federal bird reserves, among other enduring, ecological acts.
When the library opens in his name it will be the 13th presidential library in the US, and soon there will be a 14th with the addition of Barack Obama. No opening date has yet been finalized for the Theodore Roosevelt library.