Mar, 6, 2012,
2:05 PM

MLK Library: Office Space?

Here’s an update on the potential fate of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington D.C., the architect’s only library.

As with many of Mies’ buildings lately, it needs restoration. But the cost of upkeep has forced community members to look at multiple options, including re-using the space for non-library purposes. The Urban Land Institute gathered a panel, which met in fall of 2011, and their final report is now public.

In the report, they conclude the better-than-average economic conditions in D.C. make an expensive rehabilitation possible - with the end goal being “a library of the future.” However, none of their recommendations include retaining the library function for the entire building.

Who knows what the future holds? Especially if we can someday provide low-income and homeless people with infinite information on demand (via hologram, of course). But that’s just another Star Trek episode (or federal program) waiting to happen. Until then, the panel made these suggestions:

1.) Add more floors for more tenants to get more money

2.) Move library operations entirely and rethink the use of Mies’ structure

Either option is anticipated to cost less than the $200 million-plus expense to restore the library to its original state. And, as if giving a nod to Mies in heaven (or wherever he is), they conclude their report with flattery:

"Mies was a pioneering architect who envisioned buildings that were at once bold but flexible from a functional perspective."

As long as his fans approve…

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Feb, 14, 2012,
1:02 PM

Less is More Fashionable

Street shots from the current New York Fashion Week might feature yarn flowers and variations on the Hawaiin shirt, but new London designers appear to be inspired by Mies’ minimalist approach.

Just as Mies’ buildings relied on simplicity and structure, images from the nascent “new minimalism" movement indicate young European designers are doing the same. Without ornament, excess, or confusion about who, exactly, these outfits are meant for, simple yet sculptural attire is making a comeback across the Atlantic.

As far as the Mies Society is concerned, such personal aesthetics couldn’t be better timed. The architect’s influence on iconic hairstylist Vidal Sassoon will be the focus of Mies 126th birthday celebration next month.

Like Vidal Sassoon’s creations, minimalist fashions are made for women to wear with little fuss. The unintended benefit is the ability to match one’s modernist surroundings!

Image courtesy of Vidal Sassoon

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