The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Architect incorporates the ‘spirit’ of Bush’s presidency

The architects chosen to design the multistory, 207,000 square-foot, George W. Bush Presidential Library are no strangers to high society.

Robert A.M Stern Architects of New York City are designing the Bush Library, which is still in the early stages of development.

Stern Architect’s was founded over 40 years ago and today its founder, Robert A.M. Stern, is the dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University. Stern transformed the program into one of the most prestigious architecture schools in the world. He could not be reached for comment for this story.

Stern’s recent project of the upscale Residences at the Ritz- Carlton in downtown Dallas consists of a buff- colored brick and limestone in a regency style similar to the adjacent Crescent Hotel.

Stern also designed the library at Harvard Business School, where President Bush received his MBA, and designed the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Similar to the Georgian architecture at SMU, the Harvard Business School library is designed with red brick and limestone. Stern has also helped design other campuses, from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to Stanford University in California.

“I expect nothing less than perfection in the George W. Bush Presidential Library,” freshman Bennett Byrd said. “The building will add to SMU’s already prolific style of architecture.”

The most visible landmark on SMU’s campus will be in the University’s Collegiate Georgian architectural style. Georgian architecture was current between 1720 and 1840 and is seen in most English-speaking countries. Brick or stone used as building materials are derived from ancient Rome or Greece.

SMU’s campus was modeled after the University of Virginia’s campus, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. SMU’s historical building, Dallas Hall, was modeled after the University of Virginia’s Rotunda. Jefferson designed the Rotunda in his unique style of Jeffersonian architecture.

“Our agreement with SMU is that we are compatible and fit the Collegiate Georgian architecture,” said Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

Other presidential libraries have distinctive architecture. The firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, the fourth-largest firm in the world, designed the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. Built in 1997, the George Bush Presidential Library is better known for its modern architecture.

Stern also designed the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia around Jefferson’s architectural style. Robert A.M. Stern’s Web site,, offers pictures of the design and other projects and profiles.

“Stern is a traditionalist, and he really builds upon the tradition of American architecture,” Langdale said. “Robert Stern is one of the greatest living architects in the world and the perfect architect for the Bush library.”

Many presidential libraries “are big and bombastic. Quite a few have been dull. With Bush, there will be no bombast or boredom,” said Stern in an interview with Architect magazine.

There are 12 presidential libraries in the U.S. The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library at the University of Texas is modern and monolithic in design. Balconies stand 10 stories high overlooking the campus.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston overlooks the Dorchester Bay near the Harbor Campus of the University of Massachusetts. The library consists of a triangular nine-story tower that holds just the archives of JFK. The library houses two auditoriums and is estimated at 115,000 square-feet.

The Bush Foundation hopes to make the Bush library a welcoming and open place for people. Designs include meeting spaces for professors to have seminars as well as a restaurant outside the security of the archives.

Foundation officials say accommodation for students is a priority and an integral part of their design.

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