To be considered as the construction site for the George W Bush Presidential Library, the West Texas Business Coalition commissioned Lane Architecture + Design, P.C. to design an eye catching design on the Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock TX. Applying experience from designing a renovation of the JFK Presidential Library and knowledge of the West Texas culture, I created a dynamic focal point based upon a story board program of events that took place during his presidency. Result: Lubbock, TX was one of the final contenders of consideration by the Bush Library selection committee.
The President has certain core beliefs that he developed while living in West Texas. Having these unwavering core beliefs, the President has been able to lead the nation through challenging times without being swayed to compromise his convictions. Just as the President has relied upon these core beliefs, the design of the building and the immediate surrounds has relied upon a strict grid that provides a firm foundation from which a creative design can be drawn. The grid chosen is a series of equilateral triangles. The three sided grid was chosen over the typical four sided grid for several reasons. It provides not only two vanishing points as the square and rectangle does, it provides three – making spaces more active and interesting. There are unpredictable possibilities and surprises that the visitor will encounter – much like the events of today’s world. There is no other physical shape that is stronger than a form with three points of support. This also carries over to strength that the President has relied upon in his spiritual belief in the triad. Having a grid that can be virtually endless – just as the President’s hope is freedom for all – could not be designed into any other context than the one in the ever expanding West Texas plains.
The building is clad with tight jointed honed limestone. There will be a connection to the architecture of the main campus by using limestone that has a creamy color and with the use of various materials of terra cotta in color. The limestone massing will be monumental and will have windows punched through its walls. The windows will have solar visors projecting from the walls to protect the visitors from some of the direct sun light in selected areas. The visors should change the exterior character of the building with shadows upon the limestone walls.
There will be exterior walkways that will be covered and protected from the sun and the rain. The walkways will lead the visitors, behind a contemporary colonnade, from the parking areas and toward the main entrance.
When one enters the main entrance, they will be received in a comfortable vestibule.
As the war on terror has shown us that there is good and evil throughout, the progression of spaces will have the visitor led through a darkening transition space. This space will have a rougher texture on its surfaces, the lightning will be minimal, triangular balconies will peer over this space with their points clearly visible. But as we have had a President who stepped ahead of many in this world in efforts to lead others towards a better life, the visitor will also see the President’s image beyond in a brilliantly lit space beyond.
This brilliantly lit space beyond will be the central lobby. This lobby will allow one to go to the auditorium, store, restaurant, Laura Bush’s center of Literacy, archives, and to the upstairs reading room. In this lobby, the President’s image will be a life size statue of him. Behind him will be an expansive wall of glass that projects outward as it travels from the floor to the ceiling. The beautiful Texas horizon and sunsets can be viewed through the window wall. The visitor will also see a large sculptured reflecting “playa” lake through the window wall. The lake will be formed within the triangle grid. The point of the lake will penetrate the building through the window wall by approximately 10’x 10’ x 10’. The furthest end of the lake (outdoors) will be landscaped with rough overgrown native grasses, rocks, cactus, and other elements to have the appearance of being a bit un-kept. As one looks up to the lobby ceiling, they will notice rays of sun light (hope) passing down to the lobby floor. The ceiling will be sloped upward as if it is soaring upward and outward towards the reflecting lake. President Bush has been very bold with his conviction to share America’s seed of freedom (the small 10’ x 10’ x 10’ part of the lake inside the lobby) with others beyond our borders (beyond the window wall). Yet, there are still unsettled areas that do not have the freedom that we wish that they could enjoy (the un-kept end of the lake).
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Lubbock, TX, US
My Role: Designer, Marketing director, client contact