The DC Public Library has revealed preliminary design ideas developed by the three shortlisted architecture firms for the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The teams—Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture, Patkau Architects/Ayers Saint Gross with Krueck +Sexton, and STUDIOS Architecture/The Freelon Group—submitted two versions of the project. One shows a stand-alone library, and the other a mixed-use building with additional floors.
The renderings will be on display at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, in neighborhood libraries, and on the library’s website. The firms also will present their design ideas at a public meeting on February 15.
In its proposal, Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture focuses on transparency. This approach would involve removing the brick walls in the public realm to make library activities more visible. New spaces would include a “City Market” ground floor with an informal auditorium space, two large media screens, a bookstore/café, and a bar/restaurant.
The Patkau Architects/Ayers Saint Gross plan seeks to retain and restore historic elements of the Mies van de Rohe building while introducing new elements such as a three-story space called the Community Mixer; the Cloud, a technological form that filters daylight, broadcasts information, and generates energy; an outdoor roof terrace; and a café.
The concept from STUDIOS Architecture/The Freelon Group proposes an “interconnected, free-flowing space carried vertically throughout the building.” Displays and new media will stream down from a floating volume known as the “cloud,” capped by a rooftop featuring an indoor/outdoor café, amphitheater, and community gardens.