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  3. Francine Houben on Washington D.C.'s Central Library, A Balancing Act Between Mies and Martin Luther King Jr.

Francine Houben on Washington D.C.'s Central Library, A Balancing Act Between Mies and Martin Luther King Jr.

Francine Houben on Washington D.C.'s Central Library, A Balancing Act Between Mies and Martin Luther King Jr.
© GSAPP Conversations
© GSAPP Conversations

In the tenth episode of GSAPP Conversations, Jorge Otero-Pailos (Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP) speaks with Francine Houben, founder and creative director of the Dutch practice Mecanoo. Recorded before the school's annual Paul S. Byard Memorial Lecture, their conversation centers on her practice's work to renovate and redevelop the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C., Mies van der Rohe's last building and only library project.

I felt two men on my shoulders. On the left side is Mies and on the right side is Martin Luther King, Jr. [...] I said Martin Luther King is more important to make the building more open, more welcoming. In a kind of very subtle way, I balanced Mies and Martin Luther King Jr. and, if it was conflicting, Martin Luther King Jr. won.

Fly Through Mecanoo's Final Designs for Washington D.C.'s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

The District of Columbia Public Library authority has unveiled a fly-through video tour of the final design for the renovation and intervention of its main downtown branch, the Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library. According to the architects, Mecanoo and D.C.-based Martinez+Johnson Architecture, it shows "a modern library that reflects a focus on people, while celebrating the exchange of knowledge, ideas and culture."

GSAPP Conversations is a podcast series designed to offer a window onto the expanding field of contemporary architectural practice. Each episode pivots around discussions on current projects, research, and obsessions of a diverse group of invited guests at Columbia, from both emerging and well-established practices. Usually hosted by the Dean of the GSAPP, Amale Andraos, the conversations also feature the school’s influential faculty and alumni and give students the opportunity to engage architects on issues of concern to the next generation.

You can listen to every episode of GSAPP Conversations, here. This particular episode is available to listen to directly on Soundcloud and through the iTunes store and iOS Podcasts app, where you can also Subscribe. GSAPP Conversations is a podcast produced by Columbia GSAPP's Office of Communications and Events in collaboration with ArchDaily.

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Cite: AD Editorial Team. "Francine Houben on Washington D.C.'s Central Library, A Balancing Act Between Mies and Martin Luther King Jr." 23 Jun 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/874332/francine-houben-mecanoo-on-washington-dc-central-library-a-balancing-act-between-mies-van-der-rohe-martin-luther-king-jr/> ISSN 0719-8884
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