Housing Complex

Overhaul of MLK Library Draws Dozens of Interested Architects

More than a few architects are interested in taking on the daunting task of redesigning the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

More than a few architects are interested in taking on the daunting task of redesigning the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the daunting task facing architects interested in overhauling the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. The 1972 building, designed by renowned modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is a historic landmark, meaning that its basic elements must be left intact. Yet it's also outdated and fairly unpleasant, and in need of a substantial upgrade—but any changes have to go through a "very complex" design review process, according to D.C. Public Library's solicitation for architects. Oh, and DCPL doesn't actually have any specifications in mind yet.

No matter: Architects appear to be undaunted. At this morning's pre-response conference for interested developers and architects to learn more about the project, 98 people representing 63 firms showed up, according to DCPL spokesman George Williams.

I wasn't present; I was covering a certain real estate magnate-turned-TV personality's grand unveiling of his plans for a downtown luxury hotel. But according to Williams, companies from as far as London, Canada, New York, Boston, and Chicago came to this morning's meeting. Williams says firms from Tel Aviv and Jordan have also made inquiries to DCPL about the project.

The deadline for interested architects to submit their qualifications is Sept. 23. Within 60 days afterward, DCPL will invite 10 to 15 of those architects or teams to present more detailed proposals.

Photo via DCPL

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