Apple Carnegie Library, Apple’s newly renovated flagship that once housed the former Central Public Library in Mount Vernon Square, Washington, DC, is set to open on Saturday, May 11th. On Thursday, Apple shared images of the flagship ahead of Saturday’s grand opening. Here’s a history lesson of Carnegie Library and everything you need to know about the store.
After being selected from a national design competition, architectural firm Ackerman & Ross built the Central Public Library, later dedicated as the Carnegie Library, between 1899 and 1902. The construction of Carnegie Library was financed for by contributions made by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.
Funding for Carnegie Library came from plans Andrew Carnegie drafted in 1889. Named “The Gospel of Wealth,” it highlighted Carnegie’s plan to distribute a sizeable amount of his wealth before he died.
Carnegie famously wrote, “The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.”
Carnegie Library opened its doors in 1903 after being dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt and Andrew Carnegie. The Central Public Library served as the first desegregated public building in the District of Columbia.
The building served as the District’s Central Public Library until 1972 when the library moved to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. In 1999, Congress granted a 99-year lease to the Historical Society of Washington, DC.
Carnegie intended the Beaux-Arts style building to be used as a free public space dedicated to knowledge, discovery, community, and creativity.
In July 2017, Apple signed a ten-year lease for a 19K square-foot space, with two optional five-year extensions. Part of the lease agreement with the library’s management company, Events DC, was that Apple agreed to renovate the building.
Although Apple did not disclose the exact renovation costs, The Washington Post published an article that highlighted the renovation and total cost being upwards of $30 million.
Apple contracted London-based architectural firm Foster + Partners, whom Apple has long established a relationship with, and was crucial in the construction and renovation of numerous stores including Champs-Élysées, Michigan Avenue, Kyoto, Piazza Liberty, and Apple Park.
“This is Apple’s most extensive historic restoration project to date, restoring and revitalizing the Beaux-Arts style building once home to Washington, D.C.’s Central Public Library. Originally funded by Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1903, the library will once again be a center for learning, discovery, and creativity for the community, keeping with Carnegie’s vision of a public and free space for all,” says Apple.
Inside Carnegie Library, The Forum is in a double-height atrium, along with a large screen for Today at Apple sessions. In an editorial on DC blog, DC-ist, writer Eliza Berkon says, “The courtyard-like space will also be used for “teacher labs” and sessions that incorporate the resources of Apple’s fellow Carnegie Library tenant, the Historical Society of Washington D.C.’s new DC History Center.”
The Forum is a place where Apple fans can gather and take part in Today at Apple sessions, meet and greets, and even network with other creative individuals.
While Apple is committed to using the Beaux-Arts style building as a community hub, it will still serve as an Apple Store where customers will be able to find the usual Fetzer-designed wooden tables spread around the room with Apple products on them.
The iconic Avenue will be where customers can find accessories, try on the latest Beats headphones, and browse the seasonal collections of Apple Watch bands and iPhone cases.
Customers who need help with their Apple devices can stroll over to the Genius Grove where a team of Geniuses will offer personalized technical support and advice in a space lined with trees, stools, and the same wooden Fetzer tables as the rest of the store.
“Whether customers come to explore new products, visit one of our Geniuses or unlock their creativity in a Today at Apple session, Apple Carnegie Library is a place for everyone,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People.
Apple Carnegie Library will open at 10 am ET on Saturday, May 11th. The store is located at 801 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001.