BISMARCK — The group behind the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library has narrowed the search for the project's architect down to three.
Chicago-based Studio Gang, Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen and Oslo-based Snøhetta were named the finalists on Wednesday, May 20, for a design competition that will culminate in a winner later this year.
The library's board of trustees have stated a preference to build the library along the Maah Daah Hey Trail near downtown Medora, a Western-themed tourist town in North Dakota's Badlands.
Twelve firms, including four based in Europe, initially submitted their qualifications to the board for consideration. None of the 12 companies were located in North Dakota.
The three finalists are well-known in the architectural community and have each completed high-profile projects in the past.
Studio Gang was founded by Jeanne Gang, who was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people in 2019. One of Gang's principle works, the Aqua tower in Chicago, is the tallest building ever designed by a woman. Her company has also completed a number of smaller scale projects that it calls "community-centered cultural institutions."
Henning Larsen has designed projects all over the world, including Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus, Denmark and the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland. The firm with a "Scandinavian ethos" has recently won the European Prize for Architecture and several other prestigious awards.
Snøhetta has garnered praise and public attention for creative projects, including Europe's first underwater restaurant and several opera houses and libraries. The award-winning firm also integrates landscape architecture, interior design, graphics, branding and product design into its operations.
Each firm will be paid $50,000 and reimbursed for travel to the site. Design concepts will be due to the board by July 17 and any digital renderings will be due August 3. The board says it will then make the designs public and hold a board meeting in Medora in mid August. The board will then announce the competition's winner in mid September.
Last year, state lawmakers approved a $50 million endowment for the project if the library foundation can raise $100 million in private donations. Library foundation CEO Ed O'Keefe previously told Forum News Service fundraising efforts are going "phenomenally well," but he would not disclose the foundation's progress.
As the name suggests, the proposed library is meant to honor and recount the complex story of Theodore Roosevelt, the one-time governor of New York who became the 26th president of the United States. As a young man, Roosevelt spent parts of three years hunting and ranching in the North Dakota Badlands before his career in national politics.