Finding the Bauhaus in the Public Library

Thursday / September 26 / 5:30 PM

Free Event


Date & Time

Thursday, September 26

5:30pm - 8:30pm


Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006


Learn, Create, Collaborate—Bauhaus Style!

Finding the Bauhaus in the Public Library is a new public program series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the German Bauhaus school (1919-1933) and the modernization of D.C.’s own landmark, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library—designed by the last director of the Bauhaus, Mies van der Rohe.

During this DC Design Week event, you’ll learn how a radical design school influenced everything from the chairs we sit on to the architecture of buildings around the world. You’ll be free to create with makers of all kinds in the Library, and collaborate as we imagine how Bauhaus ideas of design, social purpose, and hands-on learning might serve our city today.

And if you walk away from this event wanting more, you can continue supporting the program series through exhibits, workshops, screenings and more at the Goethe-Institute, library locations, and other partner sites over the next year.

This event is presented by the DC Public Library, Goethe-Institut, Gensler, AIA | DC, AIGA, and additional partners.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the event! Tickets are not guaranteed, and if the event is full, we will begin distributing tickets to walk-ins at that time.

5:30–7:00 p.m: Opening Reception for the Exhibition: Designing and Redesigning MLK Library The MLK Library is a local icon: the only library ever built by Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe, and his only building in the District. Learn why the Library was almost torn down, how it was saved, and the reasons for the changes to one of D.C.’s most debated buildings, reopening in fall 2020.

7:00-8:30 p.m: Panel Discussion, Designing Utopia? Learning from the Bauhaus Experiment The Bauhaus (1919-1933) was a German art school that imagined a better world and launched some of the greatest architects, designers and artists of the 20th century—including Mies van der Rohe, architect of D.C.’s own MLK Library. Yet the school’s social vision was eclipsed by World War II and the rise of a fascist regime. Today we see traces of Bauhaus design everywhere—but what became of its utopian ideals? Further, what new perspective does this history offer on present-day challenges of inequality and shrinking public space? Join us for a cross-cultural conversation with experts from the fields of art and design, architecture, and education about historical experiments and today’s realities in design for the public good.

Moderator: Maryann James-Daley, Assistant Director of Public Services for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at DC Public Library Panelists:

  • Mira Azarm, Innovation Instigator, UMD Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Hazel Edwards, Chair, Howard University Department of Architecture
  • Karen Koehler, Professor of Art History, Hampshire College


Maryann James-Daley

Assistant Director of Public Services for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at DC Public Library

Maryann James-Daley is Assistant Director of Public Services for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library at DC Public Library, which is undergoing a 3-year, $211 million modernization. She started her career at DC Public Library in 2012 as the Web and Social Media Librarian, before moving to manage The Labs and Digital Commons at the MLK Library, where she led staff who provided programming and services with innovative, maker and studio technologies. Since then, she has served as acting manager of Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library, Interim Assistant Director for Public Services for neighborhood libraries, and in her current position managing operations for the central library. Before her transition to library work, she served as an editor, producer and reporter for outlets that include The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. Maryann passionately champions libraries as a spark for education, inspiration, collaboration and change. An alum of Howard University and University of Pittsburgh, Maryann lives in Maryland with her husband, 5-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.


Karen Koehler

Professor of Art History, Hampshire College

Karen Koehler is professor of art history at Hampshire College and teaches courses in modern and contemporary art, architecture, photography, and design, with an emphasis on connections between the built environment, visual culture, and critical theory. In 2008, Koehler served as guest curator and sole author of “Bauhaus Modern”, an exhibition and catalogue at the Smith College Museum of Art. Other recent publications on the Bauhaus include catalogue essays for the Prada Foundation in Milan and the Gallery of New South Wales, as well as an essay on the Bauhaus and Gestalt in Joseph Albers: Intersecting Colors at the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, and a forthcoming essay on “Bauhaus Doubles” for Bauhaus Bodies, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press. Recipient of recent grants from the NEH, Mellon, and Kress and Graham Foundations, Koehler is currently completing an intellectual history of the architect Walter Gropius for Reaktion Books (distributed in the U.S. by the University of Chicago Press), a project for which she received a Senior Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery in Washington.


Mira Azarm

Innovation Instigator, UMD Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Mira Azarm is an Innovation Instigator in the Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (AIE) at the University of Maryland. AIE is in the vanguard of reimagining higher education using human-centered design, and she is paid to provoke faculty, students and staff into becoming creative problem-solvers. If you’re familiar with institutions of higher education, you might think that’s about as exciting as watching paint dry, but actually, it’s like seeing mentos dropped into diet cola: the eruption is magnificent. She loves teaching folks at UMD how to build at low resolution, collaborate radically, let go of being experts and lean on others, and most of all, talk to each other in meaningful ways. In addition to teaching, she designs artifacts to communicate concepts and tools; partners with groups across campus to design new classes, curriculum, and workshops; and prototypes new ways to weave innovation into the cultural thread of the institutions she works in. Before joining the skunkworks that is AIE, she was a president of AIGA DC and a President’s Council Chair for AIGA, earned a M.A. in Social Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art, served as a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Social Design Fellow. Currently, she teaches in the combined MA/MBA in Design Leadership program at MICA & Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business and serves on AIGA DC’s Advisory Board.


Hazel Edwards

Chair, Howard University Department of Architecture

Hazel Edwards is Professor and Chair of the Department of Architecture, College of Engineering and Architecture at Howard University since July 2016. Her unique career has combined place-related research with planning and urban design practice. Her research interests in quality of life are framed within urban design contexts while focused primarily on historic residential and campus environments. Her design background has served as a foundation for her talent for translating and representing ideas and concepts as well as creating alternatives. This orientation has a strong influence in all of her work-from campus planning; to master planning activities; to urban transportation studies; to qualitative and quantitative research; to pre-development services; to building-related projects; to community engagement; to proposal writing; to book design. Of note is a planning study that culminated in a book that she co-authored entitled, The Long Walk: The Placemaking Legacy of Howard University. Born in North Carolina, Dr. Edwards was raised in Washington, D.C. and holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Howard University and a Ph.D. in Regional Planning from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She returned to North Carolina as a Carolina Minority Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP) and will be inducted in April 2018. She has taught in the graduate city planning programs at Morgan State University’s Institute of Architecture (1999 to 2007) and at The Catholic University of America’s School of Architecture and Planning (2007-2016) where she served as director of the Master of City and Regional Planning program.


About DC Design Week

Built by 100% volunteer power, DC Design Week is an annual celebration of this community, hosted by AIGA DC. AIGA Member On-Sale begins 9/5 at 10:00am and the General Public On-Sale begins 9/10 at 10:00am. 100% of the proceeds from DCDW events go toward future AIGA DC programming and the Design Continuum Fund (DCF) scholarship fund. We believe in fostering the next generation of designers through helping local design-minded and underrepresented students as they pursue their education.

Interested in becoming a member? To gain early access to our most exclusive events and year-long discounts, sign up to become a member today!


If you need any accommodations to fully access the event, please get in touch with us by Monday, September 16, 2019 at:

Code of Conduct

All AIGA DC events adhere to our Code of Conduct.


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