John Carl Warnecke, the library’s main architect, passed away earlier this month after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last November. Warnecke was 91.
In addition to Lauinger, Warnecke designed President John F. Kennedy‘s grave site in Arlington National Cemetery, the Hart Senate Office Building, and buildings at Stanford, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. He is also remembered for restoring the historic row-houses surrounding Lafayette Square in downtown D.C. after First Lady Jackie Kennedy discovered plans to build office buildings on the land.
“He was a modernest who recognized the importance of contextualism,” colleague Harold Adams said in the Washington Post‘s obituary.
So, maybe it’s time to reconsider the artistic merit of Lauinger. After all, if Provost James O’Donnell saw fit to describe the library as “that beacon of our commitment to learning and inquiry,” it can’t be all that bad. You know, except for fights over power outlets, the food and drink ban, and the soul-crushing experience that is pulling an all-nighter on the 1st floor. Aside from that stuff, it’s great!
Vox thanks Eric Wind for the tip!