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Top Three Firms Selected for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library Renovation

9th and G St, NW

From DCPL:

“Today 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 for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library renovation.

The finalists will develop 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.

“The design ideas and presentations will show the library and the public the capabilities and vision of the finalists,” said Joi Mecks, interim chief librarian for the DC Public Library.  “While the ideas presented may not necessarily be the final concepts used, the overall process will help us pick the best team for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library renovation.”

In early February, the design ideas will be 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 Saturday, Feb. 15. The teams are expected to:

1.    Explain the design and how it is unique, iconic, functional, welcoming and inviting.

2.    Explain how library services are accommodated and how the design creates dynamic learning environment.

3.    Explain how the design approach preserves the historic nature of the building, especially the first floor and exterior.

4.    Explain how the team will navigate the District and federal government regulation processes.

5.    Explain the design approach for additional floors and separate access to those floors.

Design ideas and presentations will be reviewed by a technical evaluation committee composed of library, urban planning, architecture and preservation experts.  An Advisory Panel also will help the technical evaluation committee assess the finalists. The Advisory Panel will include community representatives, preservation experts, members of the construction industry and select DC agency heads.

In addition to attending the presentation in February, the public has many ways to provide input that will be shared with the final three teams and ultimately the selected firm

  • The MLK Jr. Library Idea Community,, is an online crowdsourcing platform that allows the public to provide input on spaces and services for teens, children, adults, people with disabilities, D.C. history, meetings and more.  Anyone can view public comments, but a person must register in order to post comments.
  • An online survey collects ideas to inform the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. This survey takes five to seven minutes to complete and can be found at
  • Focus groups are being held with a wide range of residents, including adults, seniors, teens, school-age children, teachers, parents with young children and others. If you are interested in being considered for participation in a focus group, please send an email to [email protected].

The selected architect team will work with library staff and consultants to explore the recommendations outlined by the Urban Land Institute’s assessment in fall 2011. Options in the assessment include renovating the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library as a stand-alone library or as a mixed-use building with additional floors.

For more information on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library renovation, visit

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