Regarding Philip Kennicott’s Feb. 19 Style column, “For library, hard part starts now”:
As one of Mr. Kennicott’s fellow “cranks,” I think the Mies van der Rohe-designed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in the District is worth saving without additions because it is beautiful and because it teaches an enriching lesson about how to experience a lovely, livable city.
Along the few blocks of G Street NW from the Patent Office Building (now the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture) to the 1917 Gothic-revival Mather Studios structure (once an office building and now trendy condominiums) to the 1884 St. Patrick’s Church on 10th Street NW, there exists a great conversation in American architecture that enriches one’s soul. The proposal to add a new topper to the library is as much an insult to that building as was the rippling wave added to the top of the Patent Office Building, which abused what had been a pristine 19th-century courtyard by turning it into a standard-issue mall food court.
The question the article should have addressed is, why do architects feel entitled to add an affectation to already noble structures?
Thomas Bower, Washington
The writer is president of the Dupont Circle Conservancy.