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Laura Bush Unveils Design Plans for the George W. Bush Presidential Center

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Way back when in 2007, we were one of the first outlets to tell you that Robert A.M. Stern had been hired to design the George W. Bush Presidential Center, then again earlier this year about its sudden increase in size and Laura Bush finding a landscape architect for the project (who, while we’re mentioning Michael Van Valkenburg, was also just hired to work on Chicago’s Grant Park). But other than those little bits and pieces, there hasn’t been much news coming out of Southern Methodist University, where the center will be built. But now you can expect a lot more talk in the coming years, as this week Mrs. Bush revealed the plans for the new building and its surroundings. Personally, our review of Stern’s work is that, well, it’s fine. Perfectly pleasant, but likely nothing that future generations will be studying or getting excited about. That seems to be the consensus among most professional critics too. Christopher Hawthorne starts his review “George W. Bush was a lightning rod of a politician. His presidential library is meant to be anything but” and seems to keep to that theme throughout. Here in Chicago, Blair Kamin reports mostly on the news of the release, but does offer some small bits of evaluation, saying that the plans are slightly less than traditional, but “they are by no means as boldly modern as the bridge-inspired William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum in Little Rock, Ark.” We’re not anxiously awaiting its completion, like we are with some projects, but we’ll hold off on any complete judgment until the building is finished, which is currently projected to be around 2013.

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