William J. Clinton Presidential Center
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center is located within a new 28-acre public park along the south bank of the Arkansas River, directly east of downtown Little Rock.
The integrated architectural and site design transforms a former industrial site of old warehouses and undeveloped open space into a singular destination that is an integral element in the revitalization and expansion of downtown Little Rock.
Central to its development is the riverfront park, which links to and extends the existing chain of parks along the river. Included within the park are areas ranging from active zones, including a grass amphitheater, playground, and seasonal festival grove to the west, to quieter, more natural spaces closer to the City to the east.
The main body of the Center is perpendicular to the river and elevated off the ground plane, allowing the new park to flow uninterrupted underneath. Clad in glass and metal, the building’s bridge-like form emphasizes connections, and is a reference to Little Rock’s distinctive “Six Bridges.”
Reinforcing the link to downtown, the principal entrance is on axis with the City’s main thoroughfare.
The main feature inside is a naturally lit 240-foot-long, 40-foot-high exhibition space.
In addition to the permanent exhibition hall, the building contains a temporary exhibition gallery, an education and media center, a Great Hall for symposia, dinners and receptions, a cafe and gift shop, and a replica of the Oval Office.
Contrasting with the aerial quality of the “bridge building,” is the earthbound nature of the archive building, clad in stone and concrete, which is linked to the main building. While the documents and objects of the presidential archive are located in a secure, below-grade environment, the archivists occupy the light-filled glass and steel research facility above.
Two historic structures on the site, the Rock Island Railroad Bridge and the 1899 Choctaw Station, have been transformed into integral parts of the Presidential Center complex, expanding its outreach and furthering its connection to the City. The bridge is employed as a pedestrian crossing, linking the site to North Little Rock, and the refurbished Choctaw Station houses the Clinton Public Policy Institute and Clinton School of Public Service.
|CITY||Little Rock, Arkansas|
|ARCHITECT||Polshek Partnership Architects|
Richard M. Olcott FAIA, Design Partner
James S. Polshek FAIA
Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects, Ltd.
Joseph L. Fleischer FAIA
Kevin P. McClurkan AIA
|LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT||Hargreaves Associates|