When German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe presented his designs for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in February 1966, D.C. Public Library director Harry Peterson said, "This is the most functional, the most beautiful, and most dramatic library building in the United States, if not in the world."
Since then, the library has been neglected due to limited funds, resulting in broken water fountains, out of order elevators, and missing ceiling tiles.
This spring [UPDATE: March 4], the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library will close down for a $208 million rehabilitation designed by Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Mecanoo that won’t complete until 2020. While closed, the library system will relocate to 1990 K Street NW.
The new MLK Library will offer 3D printers in a maker’s space as well as renovated reading rooms, public art, and outdoor seating spaces. Expect a new auditorium and conference center, cafe, and a rooftop event space with a terrace. The children’s area will also be larger and more interactive.
Already, the project has been approved by the National Capital Planning Commission, the Historic Preservation Review Board, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.
Check out all of the new images below as well as the newly released video offering a tour of the proposed rehabilitation.
• Re-imagine a New Central Library [D.C. Public Library]