D.C. Picks Architecture Team to Renovate MLK Library

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia officials have chosen an architectural team to lead a renovation of the central Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Chief Librarian Joi Mecks announced the selection Tuesday of Washington-based firm Martinez + Johnson and Netherlands-based Mecanoo Architecture. The joint proposal was one of three finalists for the project.

Early estimates put the project’s potential cost at $250 million, and the mayor and D.C. Council have committed $103 million.

The 1972 library designed by Mies van der Rohe is an historic landmark, and the building will be preserved. The renovation will overhaul the interior structure and systems. The renovated library will have space for performances and events, officials said.

Library officials will prepare a contract with the architecture team for approval by the D.C. Council. Then the library will work with architects and consultants to decide whether to renovate the building as a stand-alone library or as a mixed-use building with additional floors. The library asked the architecture teams to design a building that could include residential spaces on top for consideration.

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