Now You See It…

The library's champion, architect Kent Cooper, conducted a study for the building's renovation at the behest of the AIA D.C. chapter and the library board.

His proposal entails the reworking of the interior program and the addition of a fifth floor to the building, as Mies originally intended.

His proposal entails the reworking of the interior program and the addition of a fifth floor to the building, as Mies originally intended.

A new reading room carved out of the library's core is at the physical and conceptual center of Kent Cooper's proposal.

D.C. Library Renaissance Project director Robin Diener argues that Cooper's renovation plan has been unjustly ignored.

A sketch of Cooper's renovated lobby shows a new staircase to the mezzanine and main reading room above.

Ginnie Cooper D.C.'s new head librarian, has begun neglected repairs to the MLK Library but would like to build a new building.

Missing lamps represent the least of the MLK Library's problems.

Perimeter stacks near windows and direct sunlight may harm book collections.

Card catalogs remain as a vestige of the unwired library.

Pedestrian life has thankfully begun to return to the MLK Library's neighborhood.

Pedestrian life has thankfully begun to return to the MLK Library's neighborhood. Nonetheless, the Mies-designed building broods a little too much for some people who live and work in downtown D.C.

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