The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is recognised with the Award of Merit in the Education category and the sought-after Pinnacle Award at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA MAC). Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the 1972 library was renovated by Mecanoo and OTJ Architects.
For 26 consecutive years, this prestigious competition, judged by a team of lauded design professionals from around the country, has honoured the best interior projects submitted by Washington, Northern Virginia, Baltimore, and Annapolis firms.
The transformation of MLKL brings a new, humanistic environment at all levels, designed and programmed for the future, and it adds facilities including a public roof garden, a theatre, signature staircases and a suite of community studios and workshops. The library, which opened in 1972, is reborn as a contemporary lifelong-learning hub which reaches out to all communities.
It was the only library designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the twentieth century’s greatest architects, and was subsequently named after Dr. King, the towering civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968. The 39,600 m2 rejuvenation project respects the powerful simplicity of the original building. The MLKL’s rectangular form has three glazed floors which float above a first (ground) floor recessed behind a colonnade of black steel columns.
Francine Houben, founding partner, and creative director of Mecanoo, illuminates the goals of the design: "The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library reconciles the Mies building, the values of Martin Luther King, and what the library of the future must be. We have made the MLKL more organic, more transparent and more open, both physically and in how it reaches out to Washington, DC. Like never before, this great library extends its welcome to all communities, across all ages and backgrounds, and gives them the resources to build better lives."