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:
- Cunningham Quill Architects / 100 Architects
- Ennead Architects / Marshall Moya Architects
- Leo A. Daly/Richard Bauer
- Martinez and Johnson Architects / Mecanoo
- OMA / Quinn Evans Architects
- Patkau Architects / Ayers Saint Gross
- REX / Davis Carter Scott Architects
- Shalom Baranes / Davis Brody Bond
- Skidmore Owings & Merrill
- Studios Architecture / The Freelon Group
Each firm will submit a proposal in November and three finalists will be selected in December for the final round. Instead of submitting design concepts for this round, a team of library, urban planning, architecture and preservation experts will evaluate each firm's experience with designing major libraries and their approach to the budget, among other criteria.
As for the renovation itself, the DCPL has said that "no decisions have been made on the type or the extent of the renovations or additions to the library." The selected firm will work with library staff and consultants to explore options that include renovating the library as a stand-alone entity or a mixed-use space with additional floors.
The DCPL is also looking for input from the community on what they would like to see in their new library. They recently launched an online crowd-sourcing platform at dclibrary.ideascale.com to gauge ideas from community members about spaces and services for teens, children, adults, people with disabilities, D.C. history, meetings and more. The public will also be able to weigh in on whether or not the library should have a cafe and what types of activities should happen in the lobby, entrance hall and outside under the canopy. In addition to the platform, the library plans on holding focus groups, surveys, community meetings and presentations for public input that will be shared with the design team(s) throughout the process.