July will be a critical month in the fate of Mies van der Rohe's only library. Last Friday, the District of Columbia's library system submitted a concept design to the city's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), one of several government agencies expected to review the project later this month.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library has been the system's central library since it opened in 1972. It's the only example of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's work in the city, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the DC Inventory of Historic Sites. This month, the project is scheduled to be presented to the HPRB on July 23, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts on July 16. The architects gave an "informational presentation" to the HPRB in January.
DC Public Library (DCPL) provided ARCHITECT with the concept design presentation submitted to HPRB, as well as a few new images shown at a recent public presentation at the National Building Museum. The design has changed dramatically since the renovation architecture team, Dutch firm Mecanoo and local firm Martinez+Johnson Architecture, were selected in February of last year. (To see how the design has evolved, check out the older renderings in ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.) "In terms of the historic elements of the building, I’m hoping [this design is] pretty close to final, but that really does depend on the feedback that we get from the regulatory agencies," says DCPL's executive director Richard Reyes-Gavilan.
Original article by Sara Johnson at Architect Magazine