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D.C. Library Director Ginnie Cooper’s blitz of glitzy libraries was pricey—but worth it
Although Cooper was stifled in her ambition to replace a library deemed “functionally obsolete”—as she was in her last gig at the Brooklyn Public Library, where a proposed five-story showpiece never raised the $85 million it would have cost—she’s already built four new branch libraries, on top of several historic renovations and mixed-use facilities, with three more to be completed in this year. Together, they represent a significant chunk of the exciting modernist architecture being done in the District, which has long had a reputation for—to put it delicately—restraint.
Why is that notable? New City Administrator Allen Lew, after all, rebuilt a slew of falling-apart schools under then–Mayor Adrian Fenty, vastly improving the architecture at many and gracefully restoring historic buildings.