With Foster Out, New York Public Library Announces Revised Plans for its Main Branch

Architecture, East, News, Preservation
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
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The New York Public Library branch in Midtown Manhattan. (Wikimedia Commons)

The New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan. (Wikimedia Commons)

After the New York Public Library scrapped Foster + Partners’ controversial redesign of its main branch—which would have removed the famous book stacks to create an atrium-like research library—the institution has announced a more modest path forward. The cost of Foster’s plan was originally slated to cost $300 million, but, according to independent estimates, the final tab could have topped $500 million. Now, the project has been scaled back.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York Public Library Closes the Book on Foster + Partners Renovation Plan

The New Reading Room would have replaced the stacks.

The New Reading Room would have replaced the stacks. (Courtesy Foster + Partners / dbox)

The New York Public Library has canceled its controversial renovation plan by Foster + Partners, according to a report in the New York Times. The plan, which would have removed the historic book stacks and turned the non-lending research library into a circulating library, was widely opposed by scholars, writers, and architectural historians.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York Public Library to Review Figures on Foster-Designed Renovation

East
Monday, July 8, 2013
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Rendering of Gottesman Exhibition Hall, New York Public Library (DBOX for Foster + Partners)

Rendering of Gottesman Exhibition Hall, New York Public Library (DBOX for Foster + Partners)

New York Public Library (NYPL) president Anthony Marx has commissioned a third-party review of the projected $300 million cost to implement Norman Foster’s redesign of its central branch. To pay for this costly renovation, dubbed The Central Library Plan, the library will use $150 million allocated by the city for this specific project and raise an additional $200 million from the sale of the Mid-Manhattan and the Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. NYPL says consolidation will save it $7.5 million a year. Critics of the plan advocate preserving the central branch’s stacks and renovating the Mid-Manhattan Library instead.

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Six Outstanding Libraries Honored by the AIA and American Library Association

National, Newsletter
Monday, June 3, 2013
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South Mountain Community Library. (Bill Timmerman / Mark Boisclair)

South Mountain Community Library. (Bill Timmerman / Mark Boisclair)

As cities across the country struggle to bring new life to aging athenaeums and cash-strapped local libraries, the AIA has honored six outstanding examples of library design in this year’s AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. In the past we have seen a Walmart transformed into a library, a controversial starchitect renovation in New York, and an interactive, LED light-show—now take a look at these honored projects. From democratic design in the nation’s capital to a stunning Beaux-Arts restoration in St. Louis and high-tech solutions in North Carolina, this year’s winning projects present a range of answers to the challenges facing our fading repositories.

View the winners after the jump.

Architecture Writers Honor Huxtable with Letter Critical of Foster’s NYPL Renovation

East
Monday, February 18, 2013
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

A group of prominent architecture editors and critics, including AN‘s William Menking, have written a letter to the New York Public Library (NYPL) protesting the proposed renovation by Foster + Partners, under the banner of the “Huxtable Initiative.” The letters requests that the NYPL’s Board of Trustees reconsider the current plan to remove the library’s massive iron and steel stacks for a new atrium and reading room “before such an irreversible decision is made.”

Read the full letter after the jump.

Foster’s Exterior Changes Green-Lighted at the New York Public Library

East
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Preservationists who have waged a battle against Foster + Partners’ planned renovations of the New York Public Library received bad news Tuesday: The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the library’s application for changes to its Beaux-Arts exterior, mostly on the side facing Bryant Park, in a six-to-two vote.

The $300 million renovation calls for removing seven floors of stacks beneath the famous Rose Main Reading Room to accommodate a large workspace and the collections from the Mid-Manhattan and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. This might be a major step forward for the library, but the approval process is not yet over. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Landmarks Commission can only vote on changes proposed to the landmarked exterior—the decision about the stacks is out of their hands.

Video> Fly Through Norman Foster’s Proposed Changes To the New York Public Library

East
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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Last week, AN reported on Norman Foster’s newly-rendered plans to transform the landmark New York Public Library at Bryant Park. Foster’s $300 million plan will, most dramatically, gut the off-limits-to-the-public book stacks and replace them with a light-filled atrium and reading space. The NYPL has now released a video fly-through of the project, above. Enjoy!

A New Chapter for the New York Public Library: Foster + Partners Reveal Renovation Plans

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

New Yorkers, not to mention architecture critics, have been waiting with bated breath to see the plans for the controversial $300 million overhaul of the New York Public Library’s historic flagship branch on Fifth Avenue. And today, the designs by Foster + Partners, were finally unveiled. The renovation of the Beaux Arts-style library, completed in 1911 by Carrère and Hastings, will remove seven floors of stacks under the grand Rose Main Reading Room to make way for a 300-person workspace with an expansive atrium, balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, bookshelves, and new areas devoted to classrooms and computer labs. As of now, interior finishes will include a combination of bronze, wood, and stone.

More after the jump.

A Questioning Koolhaas

East
Friday, March 9, 2012
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Rem Koolhaas at the New York Public Library. (Jori Klein)

Rem Koolhaas at the New York Public Library. (Jori Klein)

Rem Koolhaas cut the interviewer short when asked if he had any regrets: “That’s a private matter and therefore not one I will answer.” And yet the entire hour-long conversation provided what seemed to be almost shockingly intimate glimpses into the architect’s state of mind, where feelings of being lonely, isolated, ineffectual, nostalgic, and even old seemed simmering.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober: Building of the Day #5

East
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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The Fort Washington Branch of the New York Public Library (farm4static/Flickr)

The Fort Washington Branch of the New York Public Library (farm4static/Flickr)

Who knows what Henry Kissinger, Lou Gehrig, Maria Callas, Ralph Ellison, Marianne Moore, and Jacob Javits have in common?

They were all kids who checked books out of their neighborhood library, the Fort Washington Branch of the New York Public Library. It is one of the original 67 New York City Carnegie Libraries. Designed by Cook & Welch Architects, it opened in April 1914. Walter Cook, along with George Babb and Daniel Willard, designed the Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue and 91st Street – today’s Cooper-Hewitt museum.

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Quick Clicks> Babel Books, High Line, Tower Trouble, Twin Lions

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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Artist Marta Minujin's "Tower of Babel" made from books in Argentina. (Courtesy Buenos Aires World Book Capital)

Artist Marta Minujin's "Tower of Babel" made from books in Argentina. (Courtesy Buenos Aires World Book Capital)

Tower of Babel. Argentinian artist Marta Minujin has created an 82-foot tall “Tower of Babel” in Buenos Aires after the city was named UNESCO’s World Book Capital for 2011. Readers, libraries, and 50 embassies donated over 30,000 books in a variety of languages to fill the twisting structure. The Guardian has a slideshow and we posted a video of the tower after the jump.

High Line Caution. Witold Rybczynski penned an op-ed for the NY Times cautioning the many would-be High Line copy cats that the success of the New York wonder-park (and a Parisian predecessor) aren’t because of the parks themselves, but because of their unique situations in dense, thriving cities.

Tower Trouble. The Wall Street Journal writes that skyscraper construction has dropped off drastically from decades past to the tune of 14 million fewer square feet per decade than the period between 1950 and 1990. Can New York maintain its global competitiveness without ramping up construction?

Twin Lions. Two stone lions, Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, have been standing sentinel at the New York Public Library’s main entrance on Fifth Avenue since 1911. Ephemeral New York posted a little more history on the backstory of the big cats.

Watch the Tower of Babel video after the jump.

A Pictorial Description of Broadway in 1899

East
Thursday, March 3, 2011
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Broadway, East Side. Wall to Liberty St. (Courtesy NYPL)

Broadway, East Side. Wall to Liberty St. (Courtesy NYPL)

Last week, we came across illustrator James Gilliver Hancock’s series of playful block elevations titled “All the Buildings in New York.” It turns out this impulse to sketch block upon block of New York’s architecture has been around for quite some time. In 1899, the Mail & Express newspaper company published a graphic journey down Manhattan’s Broadway in a book called A Pictorial description of Broadway now archived at the New York Public Library.

The stroll down Broadway 112 years ago reveals just how much New York has evolved over the past century. As the NYPL says, “The result, as you can see here, is a 19th century version of Google’s Street View, allowing us to flip through the images block by block, passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers, glaziers, and other businesses of the city’s past.”

Check out some of our favorite blocks after the jump.

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