LOCATION: Washington , DC
PROJECT SIZE: 25,000 SQ FT
PROJECT COST: $0
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library is the Central Library for the District of Columbia. Ground Floor Renovations were completed in 2013 consisting of restoration of the historically landmarked interior spaces and the insertion of a new Digital Commons within a ground floor, glass enclosed historic reading room. Great Hall renovations reopened original view corridors to create an inviting arrival point where visitors could clearly navigate hosted events and services. Improvements included new mobile displays, digital kiosks, cafe seating, restoration of finishes, and adaptation of historic service counters into state of the art Circulation and Welcome Desks.
As customer needs have expanded from individual consumption of information to collective creation, the library has evolved from a “grocery store” of collections to a “kitchen” of experiment and production. The new Digital Commons is designed to encourage creative exploration by making visible new tools and infrastructure to all visitors. The 11,000sf Digital Commons includes over 80 computers, an array of tablet devices, 3D printing, self publishing book machine, technology infused group collaboration spaces, and a new service model where staff partner with customers on their projects.
Set within the challenging environment of a historically registered interior space, the wall-less Commons is equipped with mobile infrastructure throughout to meet the flexibility demands of an unknown future. The space is designed to evolve with rapidly changing technology and the shifting demands of the Library’s community. Highly visible through the transparent glass street frontage, the renovation forges a new precedent for the Library’s future by respecting and preserving its architectural past, transforming to accommodate the needs of the present, and incorporating flexibility that anticipates the future.