The upkeep of the Mies’ Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in D.C. has become too expensive for the city library to not consider leaving the building. So the Urban Land Institute has organized a weeklong meeting, beginning Sunday, for urban planners and librarians to develop recommendations for its use and upkeep.
This isn’t the first time D.C.’s only Mies building has come into question. In 2006, then-Mayor Tony Williams tried to move the library out of the original building, but he was stalled by a committee within D.C.’s council.
This building carries considerable historic significance: It is Mies’ last completed building. Whether it will retain its originally intended use is the question, and how it can be sufficiently restored is the mystery.
So in the spirit of architectural restoration and literary adoration, we pose this question: What would Hamlet say? This is what we’ve channeled.
To leave or not to leave: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind for a community to suffer
The expensive upkeep of a Mies landmark,
Or to move the MLK namesake library,
And by doing so, possibly ending public access to a Mies treasure? To leave: to restore;
No more; and by a leave to say we end for the public
The hardship of $16,000 replacement windows
That Mies buildings can be heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To leave: to restore;
No more: to save taxpayer money: ay, there’s the rub;
Photo by cliff1066 via Flickr› Read more