All U.S. Presidents get a center named after them upon completion of their term in the White House, and George W. is no exception. Plans for his presidential center were just revealed, and considering how energy efficient his ranch in Crawford is, it really should come as no surprise that the new center is chock full of green design elements. To be located on the edge of the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, Texas, the George W. Bush Presidential Center will serve as a commemoration of all of his accomplishments [insert joke here].
Designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, the center is meant to blend in with the more traditional Georgian architecture of the SMU campus and at the same time be a more “abstract, 21st-century composition.” The building is clad in local Texas red brick and white limestone, and features a number of plazas, gardens, and ceremonial rooms. Estimated to cost $250 million, the center will also house a library, archives, policy institute, gift shops and cafes. As to the architecture and design, one reporter for the Dallas Morning News is not particularly impressed, and says the building seems “muddled and unresolved” and compared to some of the other Presidential Centers, “the message of the Bush Center is a bit squishy.”
Regardless of the architecture, we’re pleased to report that the building is aiming for LEED Platinum certification and is expected to open in 2013. The center will be very energy efficient and feature green roofs, photovoltaic panels, and extensive use of recycled materials throughout. Additionally, a large garden, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, on the campus will be full of drought-tolerant native grasses, plants and wildflowers which will not be mowed, and water runoff will be harvested for irrigation purposes. The garden will also serve as a test bed for drought-tolerant turf grasses for Texas.