The MLK Library is closing for three years for modernization; you've got until Saturday to see it. The library is famous for being the only Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building in D.C. and is designated as an historic landmark. The building is black steel and dark glass, with the classic Mies geometry and lines. He designed it when he was 80, but didn't live to see it finished in 1972. The specs for the library were from a Booz Allen consultant study of 1961, which sought a structure with few windows under the belief that modern air-conditioning and lighting made windows unnecessary for a library.
The modernization will bring new light into the building. Plans include a two-story reading room, a grand stairway, a patio and cafe on the ground level, and a roof-top terrace. In addition to traditional library functions, it will also include expansive space for creators of music, art, 3-D, and other fabrications. See more information and a fly-thru video of the plans.
The building did not originally have a name, but before it was completed, the library system named it after Martin Luther King, Jr. based on the strength of public requests. Dr. King's presence is found throughout the library, including a large mural and several mosaics.