Motions have been made to get rid of a modern master’s building to replace it with something smaller and more technologically modern.
I love how D.C. Mayor Williams declares this “a social issue,” and ends with “Form must follow function.” Very pithy speech-making, that.
The Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building was completed in 1972, so it doesn’t meet the 50-year criteria for historic designation. But witness the historical status granted to St. Louis’ Pet Building, just a few years older than the D.C. building, and know that special allowances can be made. The miles of paperwork needed to get that designation should have been started months ago, but it’s not yet a lost cause.
Thank you to Dominic for the heads up on this item.
I’ll agree that if the replacement is to be some crazy Koolhaas or Gehry mess then just leave it alone. The Mies is certainly more urban then either of those would be.
What a great library! Few modern or older urban libraries are being unmolested, it seems. D.C. has the chance to preserve one of the most interesting libraries on the east coast.
The irony is that these “impractical” modernist buildings always seem to get torn down to build contemporary starchitect buildings by folks like Gehry and Koolhaas that are even less urbanistic than the ones that they replace.
The Koolhaas library in Seattle is interesting but totally hostile to the urban environment — it screams “look at me” rather than harmonizing; rejects classical architectural forms of proportion, mass and component form; and masks its entrance to confuse patrons.
Mies’ building does none of that. It is graceful, simple and modern without offending its architectural context.
I love a good modern building and I’ve been to this library. I have to say I was not impressed with its relationship to the sidewalk and pedestrians. Inside was OK but nothing spectacular.
The modern masters did some beautiful work that can be really hostile in an urban environment. Give me a good modern house set in a green setting but evaluate the urban ones for how they work with people.
This library, in my view, does not work well for people.