The D.C. Public Library system (DCPL) released preliminary design ideas Friday for the renovation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.

The MLK Library, which opened in 1972, is the only library designed by modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and was designated a historical landmark in 2007. In December, DCPL announced the shortlisted teams for renovating the structure, which each have experience locally as well as in library design: Studios Architecture and the Freelon Group; Patkau Architects, Ayers Saint Gross, and Krueck + Sexton Architects; and Mecanoo and Martinez+Johnson Architecture.

The teams submitted two preliminary design concepts: one for renovations to the library as a freestanding building, and the other for a mixed-used development that would add floors to the library to accommodate other elements, potentially revenue-generating office or residential space.

"The design concepts are meant to judge the architect's ability and will by no means be the final design of the library," DCPL director of capital projects and facility management Jeff Bonvechio told ARCHITECT in January. DCPL will work with community input to develop a redesign.

The designs will be displayed online and in DCPL libraries, and a public presentation of the ideas is scheduled for Feb. 15 at the MLK Library. The final team will be announced in the spring.


Team: Studios Architecture and the Freelon Group

Credit: The Freelon Group/Studios Architecture


Credit: The Freelon Group/Studios Architecture


Credit: The Freelon Group/Studios Architecture


Credit: The Freelon Group/Studios Architecture


Credit: The Freelon Group/Studios Architecture



Team: Patkau Architects, Ayers Saint Gross, and Krueck + Sexton Architects

Credit: Patkau/Ayers Saint Gross


Credit: Patkau/Ayers Saint Gross


Credit: Patkau/Ayers Saint Gross


Credit: Patkau/Ayers Saint Gross


Credit: Patkau/Ayers Saint Gross



Team: Mecanoo and Martinez + Johnson Architecture

Credit: Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture


Credit: Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture


Credit: Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture


Credit: Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture


Credit: Mecanoo/Martinez + Johnson Architecture


Check out all three full proposals for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.