Mies van der Rohe's Washington library
to be overhauled by Mecanoo

| 4 comments
 

News: Dutch firm Mecanoo has won the competition to renovate Mies van der Rohe's Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library in Washington DC.

Mecanoo, who recently completed the largest public library in Europe, teamed up with local firm Martinez and Johnson Architecture to plan the $150 million overhaul of the city library, which was Mies van der Rohe's last building and was completed three years after his death in 1972.

Mecanoo wins contest to overhaul Mies van der Rohe's Washington library

The brief asked designers to explore two options for the building: to retain it as a stand-alone library or to extend upwards and convert it into a mixed-use complex. The architects will now work together with library staff to decide the best approach.

"My dream is that people will start to love this building so much that they even bring their books from home to read in the library," said Mecanoo principal Francine Houben, during the design presentation.

Mecanoo wins contest to overhaul Mies van der Rohe's Washington library

She continued: "We will pay respect to Mies van der Rohe and research what is possible to prepare this building for the library of the future. But most important is bringing out the values of Martin Luther King. My dream is to make this building to reflect his ideals."

Ten architects were originally shortlisted for the project, including OMA and SOM, and the list was whittled down to three at the end of 2013.

  • sor perdida

    A personal thrill for me now that one of my favourite firms is stepping foot in the U.S. with a subtly great design that brings life without killing a Mies van der Rohe project.

  • anam

    “My dream is that people will start to love this building so much that they even bring their books from home to read in the library.”

    What books? Face the reality if you like it or not.

  • Colonel Pancake

    I much preferred the entry from Patkau.

  • Maxwell_Smarty

    I feel like too much was made of this being a Mies building – is this building a hallmark, career defining building? Debatable. And granted, this building is now a historic landmark, but clearly it does not function successfully as a public library. I know I will be in the minority here, but I find the building to be cold, dark, impersonal and uninviting – qualities I don’t want to associate with a library. Save the building if you must, but a good library this building does not make.