04/21/14 10:55am

655 K Street, NW (at New York Ave)

A reader writes:

“Out walking Sunday morning and saw this. It appears that one of the saved buildings that was moved from its original foundation, then moved again to its new location,adjacent to the new medical college headquarters building, has collapsed! I asked the construction guy, putting up the caution tape, what happened but his only response was “I can’t discuss it”.

Another reader writes:

“Spotted this on the walk to work this morning. One of the facades of a building that was move at the NY Ave Assoc. Of American Medical Colleges collapsed overnight. It’s cool to watch them move and preserve these buildings so it’s kind of a bummer that this happened.”


04/02/14 1:30pm

From an email:

“Outrageous/Detrimental District Emergency Legislation

What: Developer Seeking Exemptions in Ward 8 Historic District — can set precedent for other historic communities & has far reaching implications

Legislative Hearing Date: April 8, 2014

Emergency Big K Legislation to City Council

This District emergency resolution attached above is not acceptable. It is targeted at present, to the residential development proposed at the commercial corridor on Martin Luther King Jr Ave, SE. Which is also in the Historic District.

It’s content is based on unfounded fear mongering, and is beneath the City and pandering. Near term development along the Historic District of Martin Luther King Jr Ave, SE is inevitable and occurring. Language in the Resolution is attempting to create poor, substandard outcomes with old, stale facts.

Where developers want to establish affordable housing developments in historic districts, to preserve the City’s heritage, they must be compelled to accomplish the developments within the reasonable historic guidelines. Passage of the legislative, as is, has the potential to alter the landscape of the historic district. The present language is sweeping and broad. (more…)

03/19/14 3:16pm


From DC Public Library:

“Meet the team chosen to design the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Gary Martinez and Tom Johnson, of Washington, D.C.-based Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Francine Houben, of Dutch firm Mecanoo.

A brief presentation will be followed by a reception and conversation.

March 25 | 6 p.m.
Great Hall

Light refreshments provided by the DC Public Library Foundation.

Learn about plans for MLK Library @ dclibrary.org/mlkfuture
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library | 901 G St. NW | Washington, DC 20001 | (202) 727-0321″

02/20/14 10:22pm

1931 12th Street, NW

I just noticed that the condos, the Wesleon, are finished at 12th and U St, NW next to the Moderno building. And it got me thinking about new architecture around town. We hear lots of complaints about new architecture/buildings that we don’t like however we don’t hear too much about new architecture that we do like. I actually like this one here and think they did a good job blending it with the Moderno next door. So are there examples of new buildings that you guys do like? If so where? And while we’re on the topic – what are your favorite examples of old buildings/row houses and other architecture that you like around town? Are there particular neighborhoods that have especially nice examples either new or old?

For old school I’m voting Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and Capitol Hill, particularly around East Capitol Street.

02/18/14 11:02am


From a press release:

“Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray joined Interim Chief Librarian Joi Mecks and members of the D.C. Public Library (DCPL) Board of Trustees to announce that the team of Martinez + Johnson and Mecanoo Architecture has been selected to renovate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library.

Martinez + Johnson is a District-based firm that has extensive experience with historic renovation projects, including DCPL’s Takoma Park and Georgetown libraries. Mecanoo is a Netherlands-based firm whose work includes Boston’s Dudley Municipal Center.

“Today, the District takes another step towards giving our residents the great central library they deserve in a way that helps improve both the public’s library experience and our library system’s bottom line,” said Mayor Gray. “I would like to thank the Library for selecting the best architecture team for the job. I also want to thank all of the people who provided input into the selection process.”

“Today, we take a huge step in helping to define what central library service will mean for urban libraries around the country,” said DCPL Board of Trustees member Neil Albert. “We’ve come a long way since the library began its transformation in 2006. I’m excited for what is yet to come for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library and the D.C. Public Library in general.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library will be renovated to accommodate 21st-century library services. The library, which first opened in 1972, has many systems that need to be updated or replaced. Additionally, many aspects of library service have changed greatly in the 40 years since the building opened.

“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library is a good library, but it can be an amazing library for the District,” said Mecks. “Now that we have a design team identified, we can begin to envision the next chapter for library service in the District. Martinez + Johnson and Mecanoo will work with library staff and the community on determining what services will be offered in the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. There will be more community meetings, more focus groups, more surveys and more crowdsourcing to come.”

Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Mecanoo Architecture were one of three finalists along with Patkau Architects/Ayers Saint Gross with Krueck + Sexton and STUDIOS Architecture/The Freelon Group. A Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) composed of library, urban planning, architecture and preservation experts selected the final team, with assistance from an advisory panel, based on the team’s:

· Senior personnel assigned to the project and their experience designing and completing major libraries and obtaining appropriate approvals from D.C. and federal review agencies;

· Approach to managing the project, developing the project budget, managing the costs and schedule while ensuring the final design meets budget requirements and addressing key challenges that are inherent in the project; and

· Ability to meet or exceed the District’s Certified Business Enterprise participation rate of 35 percent.

In addition, community input was shared with the TEC and informed the selection. Such input included people in-person and online participating in the teams’ public presentations on Saturday, Feb. 15; more than 1,200 people posting and discussing over 100 different ideas on the library’s crowdsourcing platform; participant comments in 14 focus groups; and nearly 400 completed online and paper surveys about what residents wanted to see in a renovated central library.

With Martinez + Johnson Architecture and Mecanoo Architecture identified, library officials will begin preparing a contract for approval by the contract review committee of the DCPL Board of Trustees and the D.C. Council. In addition, the Advisory Panel will help the library continue to collect input from the community on what they would like to see in their renovated Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library.

Upon contract approval, Martinez + Johnson and Mecanoo will work with library staff and consultants to determine if the project will be renovated as a stand-alone library or as a mixed-use building with additional floors. No decisions have been made on the type or extent of the renovations or additions to the library.

The total cost for the project has not been determined. Early estimates for the total cost range from $225 million to $250 million. The Mayor and D.C. Council have committed $103 million to the project in the capital budget.”

9th and G Street, NW

02/10/14 3:15pm

Rendering via STUDIOS + Freelon

From a press release:

“The DC Public Library has received preliminary design ideas for the historic renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

The design ideas are now displayed at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, in neighborhood libraries and on the library’s website. In addition, teams will present their design ideas and approach at a public meeting on Sat., Feb. 15.

In December, the Library selected Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture; Patkau Architects/Ayers Saint Gross with Krueck +Sexton; and STUDIOS Architecture/The Freelon Group as the final three architect teams. These finalists have developed two preliminary design ideas: one of a stand-alone library and one of a mixed-use building with additional floors. Both design ideas are intended to show each team’s vision and approach to renovating the central library.

No decisions have been made on the type or extent of the renovations or additions to the library.”

You can see some renderings here.