Three Firms Shortlisted for MLK Jr. Memorial Library Renovation

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Image © Flickr user Elvert Barnes

Three teams have been shortlisted from a longlist of ten for the renovation of Washington DC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – the only library and D.C. building ever designed by Mies van der Rohe. The three competing teams are:

Mapdwell Expands to Washington D.C.

National Mall. Image ©

Mapdwell announced today the unveiling of Mapdwell Solar System for the Washington, D.C. The MIT-born project has formed an alliance with the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) to provide its state-of-the-art rooftop solar resource to the U.S. capital.

DDOE was the first of several organizations to partner with Mapdwell after the platform was introduced in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The District’s map comes only seven months after the initial rollout of Solar System, and constitutes the first step in Mapdwell’s expansion in the and abroad.

Ten Firms Shortlisted to Renovate Mies’ MLK Jr. Memorial Library in D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library / Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Image © Flickr user Elvert Barnes

In August, we reported a Request for Qualifications for the renovation of Mies van der Rohe’s Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. - Mies’ only library and the only building in D.C. A few days ago, the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) narrowed down the list of potential firms from 26 to 10 and revealed that it was looking for community input on the library’s future spaces and services.

The ten firms that made the cut are:

Spotlight on Design: Toyo Ito

Tama Art University Library (Hachioji Campus) / Courtesy Ishiguro Photographic Institute

The innovative work of the 2013 Pritzker Prize Laureate Toyo Ito is often driven by an internal critique and struggle towards perfection. In this translated program, the principal of & Associates, Architects will discuss his design philosophy and remarkable work, which includes the Sendai Mediatheque in Miyagi, Japan, and Tokyo’s Tama Art University Library and TOD’S Omotesando Building.

This program is presented as part of Architecture Week. Additional support for this program is provided by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information and tickets please click here.

Title: Spotlight on Design: Toyo Ito
Website: http://go.nbm.org/site/Calendar/1506336692?view=Detail&id=115401
Organizers: National Building Museum
From: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 18:30
Until: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 20:00
Venue: National Building Museum
Address: 401 F Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., DC 20001,

Request for Qualifications: MLK Jr. Memorial Library

Courtesy of District of Columbia Public Library

In honor and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, which took place August 28, 1963, the RFQ for architectural services for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library was officially launched today by the District of Columbia Public Library. Currently a Mies van der Rohe building, which is his only library and the only Mies building in D.C., people using the public library more than ever to seek assistance in navigating the complex networks of information available to them and in converting that information to knowledge for their personal needs (education, lifelong learning, enjoyment, jobs, business development, and so on).

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library will be a place for residents to explore, connect, create and engage. They seek an inspiring design for the library of the future that will accommodate great flexibility in library uses and in technology. The RFQ’s are due no later than September 23. A pre-proposal conference is also set to take place September 10. For more information, including the full RFQ document, please visit here.

Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Takes Major Step Forward

Courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP, 2013

Frank Gehry’s revised design for the controversial Eisenhower Memorial has been approved by US Commission of Fine Arts in a 3-1 vote – a major step forward after the project’s funding was nearly scraped last year. Though Gehry’s redesign was welcomed by the commission, BDOnline reported that they’ve requested he removes the three woven metal tapestries that border the site, as they believe the scale “undermined Gehry’s attempt to convey the president’s humility.” Gehry accepted this request and now awaits re-authorization from Congress.

Farmers Fishers Bakers / rizForm

© Eric Laignel

Architects: GrizForm
Location: 3000 K Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., DC 20007,
Project Team: Griz Dwight, Brooke Loewen, Michelle Bove
Engineering: CFR Engineering
Area: 9662.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Eric Laignel

Architecture 101 Lecture Series

Bilbao / © Flickr user EEPaul

Taking place during the National Building Museum‘s Summer Block Party, the Architecture 101 lecture series explores iconic styles during significant periods in architectural history. The two lectures, titled ‘Miesian’ (July 20) and ‘Expressionism’ (July 27) will serve as a refresher course for the professional or student or providing the novice with a chance to learn more about the world of architecture.  More information after the break.

Gehry’s Controversial Design for Eisenhower Memorial Approved

Courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP, 2013

Despite harsh criticism and a lingering threat from the House to scrap funding and start anew, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission has unanimously approved ’s design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington DC. The $110 million project, nearly fourteen years in the making, has undergone numerous revisions in the past couple years in search of a compromise between the commission and its opposition, namely the Eisenhower family. 

Though the odds started to lean in the opposition’s favor, the commission is pressing forward with their plans and Gehry is expected to present his design to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts next month and the National Capital Planning Commission in early fall for review and approval.

The Smithsonian Scraps Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Hirshhorn ‘Bubble’

Courtesy of

After four years of high-brow debate, the demise of the controversial Hirshhorn ‘Bubble’ has been confirmed. The decision, made by Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Undersecretary Richard Kurin, comes shortly after the Hirshhorn board’s split vote resulted in the resignation of director Richard Koshalek – the man behind the ‘Bubble’. 

Spotlight on Design: SOM

Al Hamra Firdous Tower by / © Tim Griffith

Taking place at the National Building Museum on May 14 from 6:30-8:00pm, SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects) design principal Gary Haney, AIA, RIBA, will present the innovative design process behind the firm’s work, including the recently completed, 1,354-foot tall, Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait City, one of the world’s tallest buildings and the tallest building in Kuwait. Since its founding in 1936, the firm has designed and engineered some of the tallest buildings in the world-notably Chicago’s Willis Tower, and New York’s One World Trade Center. To register, and for more information, please visit here.

House Bill Proposes to Eliminate Funding for Eisenhower Memorial

Courtesy of Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial saga continues, as Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) proposed legislation that would forego Frank Gehry’s controversial design and eliminate federal funding. Although Bishop’s radical bill would save $100 million in future funding, it ignores any possibility of compromise.

In response, the AIA stated:

Green Schools Exhibition

Manassas Park Elementary School, Manassas, Virginia. Architect: VMDO Architects, PC. / © Sam Kittner

Striving to provide the nation’s children with a healthy place to learn is not a new concept. As long as there have been school buildings, there have been advocates for architectural improvements to ensure that students had proper lighting, heating, and fresh air. But with the real problems of overcrowding, age, and budget crises, many green visions have fallen short. With that being said, the Green Schools exhibition at the National Building Museum, which began this month and will run until January 5, 2014, will look at several examples of what is possible—at the future that, in some places, is already here—and provide resources for all of us to consider as we look toward constructing the next generation of school buildings. For more information, please visit here.

Two Films at the National Building Museum During the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital

‘Mother Nature’s Child’ / © Fuzzy Slippers Productions

The National Building Museum, in partnership with the Environmental Film Festival will be showing two films related to both the natural and built environment. Taking place Sunday, March 17 from 11:30am to 12:45pm, ‘Mother Nature’s Child’ focuses on nature’s powerful role in children’s health and development is explored through the experience of toddlers, children in middle childhood and adolescents, from Vermont to Washington, D.C. Then, on Thursday, March 21 from 6:30pm-7:30pm, ‘Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line’ film includes a discussion of their projects and interviews with New York City planning commissioner Amanda Burden and other civic figures. For more information on the events, please visit here.

Smithsonian Hires BIG to Rethink Historic D.C. Campus

Smithsonian Institution © Karissa Rosenfield / ArchDaily

The Smithsonian Institution has commissioned the innovative practice of Bjarke Ingels to reimagine the heart of its antiquated campus. The Danish architect has agreed to an eight- to 12- month, $2.4 million contract to draft the first phase of a master plan that seeks to dissolve the notable impediments and discontinuous pathways that plague the area.

More on this news after the break…

Nordic Cool 2013 Forum Talk by Bjarke Ingels

Courtesy of The Kennedy Center

As part of the Nordic Cool 2013 Forum: Designing Nature: Art & Architecture in Cities and Public Spaces exhibition, which is on now until March 17, Bjarke Ingels, the internationally acclaimed Danish architect and founder and principal of BIG, will give a forum talk on February 24. At this free event, located at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, Ingels will share to the audience his views on development and challenges of sustainable design. Through a series of award-winning design projects, Bjarke and have developed a reputation for designing buildings that are as programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious. More information after the break.

‘Culture as Catalyst: Past, Present, Future’ Event

WaterWorks at Arizona Falls, 2003 / © Bob Rink

As part of their Cultural Drivers event series, the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. will be presenting the ‘Culture as Catalyst: Past, Present, Future’ event from 6:30pm-8:00pm on February 25th.   are increasingly defined by their civic spaces such as museums, theaters, libraries, parks, and cultural districts. Designers, public officials, and non-profit leaders from across the U.S. will share how their cultural facilities and civic spaces are re-energizing neighborhoods, spurring economic development, and responding to the needs of the community. For more information, please visit here.

 

National Mall / CLOG

Nearly a million people crowded the yesterday to witness the second swearing-in of President Barack Obama. The Mall was transformed – from the oft-trampled, dusty track of land separating the Capitol from the Lincoln Memorial – into a space of civic pride and participation. It’s moments like these that reveal to us the latent potential of the , and it’s important symbolic value as our Nation’s “backyard.”

The National Mall has suffered decades of over-use and under-funding, but has recently come back on the National agenda. With many projects underway – and soon to be underway – now is the time to consider: What is the National Mall? What is its value? And how should it be designed for the future? With informative graphics, varied insights, and interesting case studies, : National Mall addresses these vital questions.

Read our review of CLOG: National Mall, after the break…