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The Miesian Touch

The Miesian Touch

In early 2014, the District of Columbia Public Library announced that the Washington, D.C.-based Martinez + Johnson and the Dutch firm Mecanoo won the competition to reimagine its central branch, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library—a Mies van der Rohe-designed building that opened in 1972. In the teams’ submission, they pledged to “improve Mies in a contemporary Miesian way.”

Now, after about a year of feedback, the library has released a new batch of images, after a $208 million renovation. However, a representative for Martinez + Johnson told AN that the plan is still evolving and these images are really more ideas than concrete plans. More finalized plans are expected when the two firms present to the Historic Preservation Review Board and the Fine Arts Commission in June.

   

The new images depict significant changes from the first go-round, such as an undulating, one-story glass pavilion that would be used for library programming, and topped by a green roof. Interior spaces have also been retrofitted to accommodate educational technologies and a wider array of programming, in addition to a performance space and a Maker Space inside the building.

This project has a long way to go before construction starts. The Washington Business Journal reported that most of the funds will not be released until 2018 or 2019.


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