A tour of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library and Carnegie Library (now Apple Store). Led by DC Public Library staff and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.
Directions to the field session, Covid-19 safety protocols, and other relevant information will be provided in your registration confirmation.
Completed in 1972, the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Memorial Library is significant as the only executed, dedicated library designed by legendary Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It is also significant as the District of Columbia’s first memorial to Dr. King following his assassination. Beginning circa 2013, the DCPL undertook an ambitious modernization campaign, which included an extensive stakeholder engagement process of library users throughout the city to develop a program for a 21st-century central library. Completed in 2020, the modernization process included reconfiguration of the interior program, overhaul of building systems, introduction of new public art, upgrade to the building’s iconic glass-and-steel envelope, and addition of a fifth-floor event and auditorium space and public roof garden and terrace.
Following the MLK Library tour, attendees will take a short walk up Seventh Street to the Carnegie Library Apple Store in Mount Vernon Square. Dedicated in 1903, the Carnegie Library was the first permanent home of the Washington Library system, funded in part by donations from industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The Beaux Arts-style building was designed by the New York architecture firm Ackerman & Ross, selected following a national design competition. It served as DC’s central library until MLK Library opened in 1972.
Currently managed by EventsDC, the convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, the library was previously used for special events and also operated as the home of the Historical Society of Washington, DC (HSW). Between 2016 and 2019, it was rehabilitated to serve as a flagship Apple retail store. The rehabilitation project included restoration of principal interior spaces; insertion of a central, skylight atrium based on historical precedent; conservation and selective restoration of exterior granite and marble cladding and decorative elements; and site improvements to Mount Vernon Square.
On the library’s second floor, HSW continues to operate the DC History Center, which includes a research library, gift shop, offices and exhibit space. Tour participants are encouraged to visit these exhibits, “DC Hall of History,” and “The Big Picture” (open until 7 PM!) following the field session.
Links for further reading:
Photo credit: Apple