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Building and Landscape Design

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, home to the Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Bush Institute, is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  The Bush Center has earned LEED Platinum certification, the highest level in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.  The building was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and is set in a sustainable, native Texas landscape created by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. 

Building Architecture

The Bush Center's brick and limestone design complements the American Georgian character of the SMU campus.  The signature architectural feature of the building is Freedom Hall, a 67-foot high tower that, when lit at night, distinguishes The Bush Center on campus and stands against the Dallas skyline to the south. 


The Bush Center from the north. The entrance to the Bush Library and Museum.

The main entrance to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum faces north and features Freedom Plaza, a colonnaded courtyard and fountain.  The Bush Institute's entrance faces the SMU campus to the west.  To the south, the Native Texas Park, a 15-acre park featuring native Texas landscaping, completes the 24-acre site.

The Bush Presidential Library and Museum includes a 14,000 square-foot permanent exhibit, as well as temporary exhibit space.  The permanent exhibit includes a full-scale replica of the Oval Office, a Texas rose garden modeled on the rose garden at the White House, and Decision Points Theater. Outside the entrance of the permanent exhibit is Freedom Hall.  Flooded with natural light from above, Freedom Hall features a unique, 360-degree, high-definition video wall.  The National Archives and Records Administration provides a research room for scholars and classrooms for school groups, which includes a recreation of the Situation Room from the White House.


The Bush Center from the west. The entrance to the Bush Institute.

The Institute section of the building provides offices for Bush Institute staff and fellows, a 360-seat auditorium, seminar rooms, a fully-equipped broadcast and recording studio, and reception rooms.  The Bush Center also includes a ceremonial courtyard with a café, a full-service restaurant, and store. 

The building's sustainable features include shaded balconies and brises-soleils on the south and west facades, green and highly-reflective roofs, rooftop photovoltaic arrays, rooftop solar hot water panels, rainwater harvesting, and highly-efficient building systems. The Bush Center makes extensive use of recycled materials and local materials, including Texas Cordova Cream limestone and pecan paneling and millwork, sourced within a 500-mile radius of the site.

Click here for additional information about The Bush Center's sustainability and conservation efforts.

Landscape Architecture


The Bush Center from the south, overlooking the Native Texas Park.

Visitors to the George W. Bush Presidential Center will enjoy a native Texas landscape in a 15-acre urban park. The Bush Center grounds reflect President and Mrs. Bush’s longstanding commitment to environmental conservation and restoration. The Native Texas Park features:

• Native Blackland Prairie grasses
• Seasonal wildflowers
• Clearings that provide native habitats for butterflies, birds, and other species
• Tree-shaded lawns
• Ampitheatre

A network of paths takes visitors through native Texas environments such as Blackland Prairie, Post Oak Savannah and Cross Timbers Forest.

Learn more in the Landscape Education map and guide

Fact sheets:

  • About the Bush Center landscape
  • Texas Rose Garden plantings
  • South Terrace plantings
  • Ceremonial Courtyard plantings
  • Native Texas Park tallgrass and shortgrass listing

About the Architects

Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Robert A.M. Stern Architects is a 250-person architecture firm, which is well-known for designs for important American cultural figures. The firm has unparalleled experience working on historic college and university campuses, notably those informed by the American Georgian tradition. Robert A.M. Stern, the firm's founder and senior partner, is Dean of the Yale School of Architecture.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., Landscape Architects

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. is known for innovative landscapes that address social and environmental issues. Michael Van Valkenburgh previously worked with Mrs. Bush on the redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, a project completed during President Bush’s first term in office. The firm’s body of work ranges from public parks in Toronto, Charleston, New York, Pittsburgh and Boston, to university campuses, including master planning projects at the University of Washington, Cornell, Yale, Penn, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley and Vassar.


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