DC has been methodically working through all of the 26 Public libraries in the district to upgrade and modernize each building according to the needs of the community. In the Capitol View Neighborhood, just a stones-throw away from the white house, there was a clear need for some investment and rejuvenation to the old 1965 original building. A library is more than a place to check out books, and can truly be the heartbeat of a community – it was critical to not only have buy-in, but real ownership from the surrounding residents in this project.
The $8.6M renovation started out much smaller than that with only an interior upgrade, but with the aid of community activism, the city was able to raise more funds and upgrade the exterior of the building as well. The second phase included the exterior renovation that featured the panels as a treatment to the masonry façade that would modernize and mark the building as something special and full of local pride. Inspired from the nearby National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is covered in cast aluminum panels, the idea of patterned panels with a geometric and modern feel was quickly adopted by the community and approved through a community vote. The finished product evokes a sense of pride and ownership from the neighborhood residents - the ultimate goal of the city and all the critical partners involved.