Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Flagship MLK Jr Library Gets Major Redesign

MLK Jr Memorial Library at 9th and G Streets NW
The city has selected the team of Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture to reconfigure and reshape the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library. The iconic library at 901 G Street NW is entering its fourth decade of existence in a changing downtown landscape. It is historic, being one of the last built structures designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; and his only public library. 
The various review panels tasked with selecting the new plan for the library ultimately narrowed the proposals down to three and chose Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson. Mecanoo is a Dutch firm and is working with local (DC and NY) partner Martinez + Johnson
The exterior of the MLK Library will remain intact, with the most obvious change being the addition of several floors of office and/or retail to the top of the structure. The height of the building would increase from 77 feet to 110 feet. I embedded the Mecanoo proposal below. Keep in mind that the actual renderings, and in fact, the final design will most likely change before the new library is complete. What you see below is a detailed proposal for the new MLK Library, but will continue to evolve as time goes on. 
The big takeaways for me --besides adding additional floors to the building-- are 1) replacing the brick 1st floor facade with glass (huge plus) 2) possible addition of cafes on the first floor, and 3) public green space and gardens on the roof. This is great news. The final three proposals were all very innovative and I look forward to following the progress of team Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson. 

More Renderings
via Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson
via Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson