Brooklyn-based SO-IL and Cleveland’s JKurtz Architects have been chosen to design Cleveland’s new Martin Luther King, Jr. branch of the public library system. The team was selected by the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) Board of Trustees on June 15, beating out other big-name teams including MASS Design Group with LDA Architects, and Bialosky Cleveland with Vines Architecture. The winning scheme is laden with design flourishes that nod to King’s legacy and seek to bring people together. “We looked to Dr. King’s words for our inspiration. The table of brotherhood led us to our vision—a table large enough to host all communities,” said co-founder of SO-IL Jing Liu during their presentation before the board. “What we made here is not a static symbol but a place where people come together and interact.” The “table of brotherhood,” a metaphor from King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, will be physically embodied at the new branch by a large, multi-use table at the heart of the team’s plan. A staircase up to an elevated area will reference King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech and patrons can find the library’s future collection of Anisfield-Wolf books; those that recognize racism and celebrate diversity. A “virtual garden,” interactive “Freedom Map” podium, a “Living Wall” that projects rearranging words, and a “Virtual Garden” are all in the works for the new museum. “SO-IL + JKurtz proposed a functional, beautiful space that speaks to Dr. King’s vision of social justice and equality. The Board found the design inventive and creative, with many features that can make this branch world-class,” said Maritza Rodriguez, President of the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees in a statement. The city is now in negotiations with the architectural team, and no construction date or budget have been made public yet. The old Martin Luther King, Jr. library will stay open until the new branch is finished.
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Twenty Five young American architects are taking on current significant issues facing the world in the 5x5 Participatory Provocations show at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. With the aim of engaging with the public while still being provocative within the field of architecture, 5x5 argues for participatory criticism, or critical engagement through architectural practice. The curators posed five prompts for offices to explore one of through physical models. The prompts include; Droneports – contemplating the future of drone deliveries, Inve$tment Tower$ – the consequence of the construction of extreme luxury high-rises as financial investments, Lunar Resort – luxury tourism on the moon, NSA Community Branch – the fictional development of NSA community branches, and Trump Wall – the potential construction of an anti-immigration wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. The 25 offices participating are: Abruzzo Bodziak Architects Andrew Kovacs / Archive of Affinities Anthony Titus Studio Brillhart Architecture Carl Lostritto Club Club David Emmons Formlessfinder Future Expansion GELPI Projects is-office JKurtz KNE studio Kyle May, Architect Michael Abrahamson Norden Design Platform for Architecture + Research Path + Price Studio P.R.O. + Quarra Stone Company Sean Gaffney / Christina Nguyen Snarkitecture SOFTlab SPACECUTTER Studio Cadena Ultramoderne The resulting models range from the playful to the austere, while questioning the current status of their prompted issue. Abruzzo Bodziak Architects’s NSA Community Branch invites guests to "spy" on the model through cellphone peepholes, the interior revealing and endless web of space. PATH + Price Studio’s take on the same subject places an obtrusive metal building over a neighborhood intersection. Below the ground of the model, the building is revealed to be iceberg-like, with massive underground information storage space. Brillhart Architecure’s Droneport model visualizes the very airspace companies like Amazon are fighting for as product delivery systems are rethought. Projects working with the Inve$tment Tower$ prompt also take to the air with slender supertowers. Both SPACECUTTER’s and P.R.O.’s Inve$tment Tower$ step over the cities below them with thin legs, physically expressing the separation of the rich from the rest of the city. 5x5 Participatory Provocations is curated by Julia van den Hout, founder of Original Copy, and co-founder and Editor of CLOG, Kevin Erickson a New York–based designer, and an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture, and Kyle May a New York-based architect and co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of CLOG. Sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 5x5 Participatory Provocations will be open through March, 4th 2016.