The architecture teams competing for the job of remodeling and possibly expanding DC’s flagship Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library released renderings of designs today of their proposed overhauls of the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed building.
The teams—composed of Patkau Architects, Ayers Saint Gross, and Krueck + Sexton; Dutch firm Mecanoo and DC-based Martinez + Johnson Architecture; and STUDIOS Architecture and the Freelon Group—were announced in December as the finalists.
The designs are likely to revive criticism from those who want to see the 1972 building left unchanged. The structure has local and national historic landmark status, and also falls under the purview of the National Capital Planning Commission, a federal board that oversee’s the capital’s skyline.
But library officials have long complained the MLK Library is in poor condition, with bad wiring and failing heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. Its innards are caked with asbestos, and the windows that haven’t been replaced yet are inefficient. The District government plans to lay out $103 million over the next five years to restore and expand the building, though total costs for the project could exceed $250 million.
City officials asked the architecture teams to come up with two designs each—one that leaves the MLK Library at its current, three-story dimensions, and one that includes additional floors with space for commercial tenants and ground-floor retail.
The renderings will be display tomorrow in MLK Library and several branch libraries, and on DC Public Library’s website. The public will get its first crack at the proposed redesigns on Saturday, February 15 during a formal presentation at the central library.
By STUDIOS Architecture and the Freelon Group:
After a $58 million renovation, the large-scale modernization of Southeast DC’s Anacostia High School—a project led by U Street firm Sorg Architects and completed in August 2012—received American School & University’s award for Outstanding Design for a Renovation/Modernization in the magazine’s November issue. The annual competition honors education design and spotlights the nation’s most effective and inspiring learning environments.
Lead architect Suman Sorg’s task was to update the 200,000-square-foot school—including new classrooms and an updated cafeteria, gym, auditorium, and media center—while retaining the historic integrity of the 1930s architecture. The firm restored the building’s original details (hardwood flooring, high, coffered ceilings, transom windows) and structure, clearing years of patchwork and redesigning the floor plan, which had become confusing after several additions. In the basement-level cafeteria, Sorg carved a double-height space out of the existing structure, allowing for larger windows and plenty of daylight. A local artist collaborated with the school’s students to create murals that were then adapted for use as decor throughout the hallways. And on the roof, the design incorporated vegetated green roofs and rainwater collection for use in the building’s plumbing—both green building strategies that contribute to the school’s bid for LEED Gold certification.
Read on to see the school’s award-winning transformation.
It’s always great to see some familiar names pop up on a national list of bests—and this time, it’s area interior designer Darryl Carter and architect Allan Greenberg, both named to Architectural Digest’s 2014 AD100, which ranks the publication’s picks for the top talents nationwide. The magazine has been compiling the list for nearly 25 years.
This is the third consecutive year that the Alexandria-based Greenberg has been placed on the list. Carter was previously included in 2012.
Read on for some high-design eye candy from the two, then head to Architectural Digest’s site to see the complete list.
The DC Public Library has narrowed down its list of choices to renovate its flagship Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial branch to three architecture teams. The teams, culled from an original list of 10, will present in February their plans to rehabilitate and potentially expand the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed library in downtown DC.
The teams are composed of Vancouver-based Patkau Architects, Ayers Saint Gross, and Krueck + Sexton; Dutch firm Mecanoo and DC-based Martinez + Johnson Architecture; and STUDIOS Architecture and the Freelon Group, the Washington Post reports.
Freelon, based in Durham, North Carolina, is responsible for widely circulated renderings last year that showed a revamped MLK Library with two floors of mixed-use space and possible ground-floor retail. The firm also designed DCPL’s Anacostia and Tenleytown-Friendship branches.
The MLK Library will be a massive undertaking for whichever architecture team wins the contract. The building, opened in 1972, desperately needs overhauls to its electric, heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. Its guts are caked with asbestos, and most of its windows need replacing. The District government plans to lay out $103 million over the next five years for the project, though a renovation such as the one drawn up by Freelon would cost at least $250 million.
But the library won’t be any ordinary remodeling job. Because the structure received local and national landmark status in 2007, the winning proposal will have to satisfy the Historic Preservation Review Board. The National Capital Planning Commission, as the arbiter of DC’s skyline, also has some jursidiction.
The architecture teams will present their designs at a public meeting on February 15.
What’s the best way to choose the nation’s top architecture firms? If you’re Architect magazine, the process includes ignoring the revenue rankings—which can often exclude smaller firms—and instead taking an intensive, qualitative look at each firm’s sustainability, business, and design by examining net revenues per employee, energy-efficiency metrics, and project portfolios. The resulting ranked list winds up including the smaller boutique firms alongside the big guys. This year, the list—the magazine’s fifth—included 14 firms that maintain a presence in our city. Read on to see which Washington firms made the list, along with the overall rank for each, then visit the magazine’s website to see the lists broken down by criteria.