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Apple promises no ‘big and loud’ changes to Carnegie Library

“Big and loud is not our intention”

Rendering via Apple

In response to any worries on how Carnegie Library’s historic architecture will be preserved during the construction process, Apple representatives spoke at a National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) meeting last week. Washington Business Journal reported that there are no plans for giant corporate logos to be plastered on the building. Only a simple Apple flag will mark the location.

“In terms of sensitivity to our client, big and loud is not our intention at all,” said Hany Hassan, a partner at architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle.

Washington Business Journal further listed out the planned renovations and changes that will be done to the building:

“Removing an atrium infill and windowed rooftop structure added in the early 2000s. The new atrium will be enclosed with a flat skylight, positioned below the existing roof line to obscure its visibility from the outside.

Replacing windows, restoring exterior stones and restoring severely deteriorated pediments.

Realigning the grand stair to its original configuration when it reaches the basement level.

Leveling the outdoor plaza on the south side, removing a zigzag ADA ramp, and reconfiguring the outdoor steps.

Removing walls on the second floor to create a space that overlooks the central atrium.

Adding a room-size video screen in the central atrium and a Genius Grove, a tree-lined ‘tranquil space’ for device troubleshooting”

On June 1, Apple will meet with the NCPC to further discuss plans.

In Mt. Vernon Square, the historic Carnegie Library is currently used as office space for the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and as an event space for Events DC. Starting this fall, construction is expected to begin in order to convert the 113-year-old structure into an Apple store, the second one in the District.

Lease terms have not yet been finalized, but the expected proposal is for 10 years with two five-year extensions. Award winning British architects Foster + Partners of London will redesign the 63,000-square-foot building. Apple hopes to offer an educational component to the space, something that will offer training programs and after-school programs.

Despite the red tape that comes with redesigning a historic building, Apple was more than willing to choose the site, especially since it already has a history with reusing historic buildings, as seen in its Regent Street store in London.

In response to the news, there have been a flurry of responses, one of which came from CityLab reporter Kriston Capps. In a recent article, Capps argued that transforming the building into an Apple store is a big mistake. It should be used as a public space, according to Capps.

“What about a museum of video art? An adjunct space for photography from the Smithsonian Institution? A cross-cultural space for the city’s universities?” suggested Capps.

'Big and loud' not the intention with flagship D.C. Apple store in the Carnegie Library [Washington Business Journal]

D.C.: Don't Give the Carnegie Library to Apple [CityLab]