Two Library Projects Honored for Excellence in Historic Preservation

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Two Library Projects Honored for Excellence in Historic Preservation

Two DC Public Library capitol projects were honored at the Ninth Annual Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

The awards, presented by Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the DC Office of Planning’s Historic Preservation Office on June 21, included a Stewardship award for the Georgetown library.  The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library Design Guidelines received a Publication award.

“The Library is pleased to receive these honors,” said Ginnie Cooper, chief librarian for the District of Columbia.  “The Georgetown and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial libraries are loved and valued by the District.  We take great pride in ensuring that our work improves the buildings while respecting their history.”

Damaged by fire on April 30, 2007, the Georgetown library restoration adapted the original blueprints to support modern library services like public-access computers and outlets to plug-in laptop computers.  The original woodwork and historic feel of the building were retained and new spaces were created for children in the lower level and for the historic Peabody collection in the roof. 

The Georgetown library team consisted of Martinez+Johnson Architecture PC; Smoot Construction; Hoshide Wanzer Williams Architects PLLC; EHT Traceries;  and John J. Christie & Associates PC.

Librarian Jerry McCoy was honored for helping to restore the Peabody Collection and for helping firefighters retrieve historical artifacts from the original Peabody Room the day of the fire.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library Design Guidelines support the maintenance and improvement of the building.  Designated as a historic landmark in 2007, the library is the only such building in the world designed by internationally renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.  The document outlines the design principles that went into the building and identifies how to preserve the building's historic features and finishes.  The guidelines also address sustainable design and the potential for new technology to be added in the building.

The Publication Award was presented to EHT Traceries, who developed design guidelines based on a committee organized by the DC Public Library Foundation.

Since 2003, the District Government has honored over 100 outstanding projects, programs and individuals for exemplary work and commitment to historic preservation in the District of Columbia. A total of 55 individuals, businesses, District agencies and local organizations were recognized this year.  The award-winning projects represent an investment of $272.5 million in historic districts and landmarks in the District of Columbia.