The luminous presidential library formally and programmatically expresses the optimism and achievements of the Clinton administration. The accessibility, openness and singularity of the building and park design together exemplify an architecture of democracy.
Our design explorations led to a crystalline bridge, with formal and material qualities that resolve the inherent tension between monumentality and physical and intellectual accessibility.
The main body of the Center is elevated off the ground plane, allowing the new park to flow uninterrupted underneath and emphasizing the public nature of the site.
Clad in glass and metal, the building’s bold cantilevered form emphasizes connections and is both a reference to Little Rock’s distinctive “Six Bridges” and a metaphor for the President’s progressive ideals. Its principal interior feature is a naturally-lit, 240-foot-long, forty-foot-high exhibition space.
Reinforcing urban design goals to reclaim and transform a derelict area, the building is oriented perpendicular to the River: its link to downtown is manifest, with the principal entrance on axis with the city’s main thoroughfare.
[The building] is the symbol of not only what I tried to do but what I want to do with the rest of my life – building bridges from yesterday to tomorrow.
Linked to the main building, the Archive is both research center and a secure environment for the documents and objects of the Clinton Administration. Two historic structures expand the complex’s outreach and further its connection to the city.
Transformed into a pedestrian crossing, the Rock Island Railroad Bridge links the site to North Little Rock. The refurbished 1899 Choctaw Station houses the Clinton Public Policy Institute and Clinton School of Public Service.
Little Rock, AR
167,000 square feet
28-Acre Public Park; Museum: Orientation Theater, Permanent and Temporary Exhibit Spaces, Great Hall, Cafè, Classrooms, Replica Oval Office and Executive Apartment; Archives: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Research and Storage Facilities; Choctaw Station: The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the Clinton Public Policy Institute, and the Clinton Presidential Foundation
Richard Olcott, James S. Polshek, 1930-2022, Joseph Fleischer, Kevin McClurkan, Molly McGowan, Kate Mann, Megan Miller, Christen Johansen, Charmian Place, Felicia Berger, Tanya Chan, Andrew Comfort, Brad Groff, Elliott Hodges, Oneka Horne, Katharine Huber, Steven Joyce, Jörg Kiesow, Jihyon Kim, Kwansoo Kim, Chris Koon, Kathleen Kulpa, Amy Lin, Scott Melancon, Tala Mikdashi, Edgar Papazian, Michael Regan, James Rhee, William Rosebro, Mary Rowe, Jill Sicinski, Oliver Sippl, Brian Slocum, Crystal Son, David Wallance, Robert Young
Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, WER Architects/Planners (Witsell Evans Rasco), Woods & Caradine Architects
Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.
Photography / Videography
Michael Hibblen, Timothy Hursley, Albert Vecerka/Esto, William J. Clinton Foundation, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects
AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, Honorable Mention
AIA/ALA Library Building Award
AIA National Honor Award for Architecture
Gold Award, The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York)
Honor Award, AIA/New York Chapter
Award for Excellence in Design, AIA/New York State