Page 4 of 6 FirstFirst 123456 LastLast
Results 46 to 60 of 83

Thread: New York Public Library Restoration

  1. #46

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by futurecity View Post
    Really, Norman Foster just to convert a basement without access to natural light? Is that necessary for an underground space?
    I don't know what they're doing re. natural light.

    I do know that the stacks are under Bryant Park, and that this is a billion dollar renovation, so they're probably doing pretty extensive improvements.

  2. #47
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC - Downtown
    Posts
    32,654

    Default

    I've not read about converting the newer stacks under Bryant Park to public use. Foster will be converting a large space containing older stacks; it sits beneath the Rose Reading Room and has windows overlooking Bryant Park.

  3. #48
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC - Downtown
    Posts
    32,654

    Default

    The plan, as described when announced in 2008:

    NYPL's $1 Billion Plan Includes $100M Gift and Revision of Research Library

    Library Journal

    The New York Public Library (NYPL) today announced a $1 billion transformation plan, sparked in part by a $100 million gift from private equity fund billionaire Stephen A. Schwarzman, that involves new hub libraries, an expansion of digital resources, and a dramatic change at its physical core ...

    Renovations coming

    ... NYPL estimated that it would cost $300 million to renovate the Fifth Avenue library, which opened in 1911 and is known for the lions Patience and Fortitude guarding its entrance, into "a vast, state-of-the-art lending library alongside its existing research divisions."The general research collection will be moved from the original stacks—seven levels underneath the Main Reading Room—to high-density shelving under Bryant Park, thus allowing a renovation "to create a multilevel, light-filled new library that overlooks the park."

  4. #49
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,476

    Default

    The New York City that Never Was Part V: The New York Public Library

    by Benjamin Waldman

    What if Carrère and Hastings hadn’t designed the Main Branch of the New York Public Library? Would New Yorkers still have Patience and Fortitude guarding their books? Would the library have become the monumental landmark that it is? The answers to these questions and more were addressed in the article, “The Tilden Trust Library: What Shall It Be?” by John Bigelow, which appeared in the September 1892 issue of Scribner’s Magazine. Billings wrote the article because he was personally concerned about fate of the Tilden Trust (one of the three collections that formed the basis of the Library’s collection), as a trustee of the Tilden Estate.

    The article contained the following designs by Ernest Flagg (who is most famous for designing the Singer Building) for the proposed Library Building:





    Provided how monumental and beautiful Flagg’s designs were, one must ask why they were not chosen. To answer that question, we must return to Dr. John Shaw Billings. In addition to being a trustee of the Tilden Trust, Dr. John Shaw Billings was a fascinating individual. He was a distinguished surgeon, hygienist, educator (he developed Johns Hopkins University’s medical curriculum), bibliographer, museum curator, medical planner and administrator. Furthermore, while serving as deputy surgeon general of the U.S. Army, he founded the National Library of Medicine, and at the age of fifty-eight, Billings became the director of the New York Public Library. Shortly thereafter, in April 1897, Billings sketched out what he envisioned the main branch of the library should look like. His sketch formed the basis for Carrère and Hastings’ final design. He lived to see the opening of the library to great fanfare in 1911, and died two years later. On April 25, 1913, the Library held a memorial meeting where Billings was eulogized by the likes of Andrew Carnegie and William Barclay Parsons and was even compared to Julius Caesar (one eulogy began “[w]e come not to bury a great man, but to praise him.”).

    This is the fifth installment of the series, the New York City that Never Was (
    Part I: Buildings, Part II: Bridges, Part III: Roadways and Railways, Part IV Zoning)

    http://newyork.untappedcities.com/2012/02/23/the-new-york-city-that-never-was-part-v-the-new-york-public-library/

  5. #50
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    2,129

    Default

    I was in the Main Branch Schwarzman library this week for the first time (yes that's right, I've never bothered to go in before) and I just have to say that it's one of the most incredible buildings I've ever been in. The quality and expanse of marble is absolutely amazing. Grand Central has nothing on that stone and looks downright dingy in comparison

  6. #51
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC - Downtown
    Posts
    32,654

    Default

    If you want to get really wowed, next time you're there check out the Map Room at the NE corner. Fantastic. Plus a great collection of maps available for perusal.

  7. #52
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,476

    Default

    Thinking Architecturally About Norman Foster's NYPL Plans

    by Jessica Dailey

    There's been plenty of debate over the NYPL's mega-makeover plan from the perspective of the library as a research center, but now a more architecturally-focused discussion is arising. Norman Foster's plans would dramatically alter the interior of the library, displacing seven levels of bookstacks below the Rose Reading Room. At a recent public forum about the plans, architectural historian Mark Hewitt said, "As a preservationist, if I were to landmark the interior of the New York Public Library, one of the first things I would put on the landmark list would be those bookstacks. They are incredibly important as artifacts of early 20th-century engineering."

    ARTinfo says Hewitt admires the stacks "not only for their compact design and their capacity to bear the load of the grand Rose Reading Room above them, but because of the fact that as bookstacks go, they are uncommonly fire-resistant." Hewitt also voiced concerns over whether or not the space is practical for the proposed open area with desks and computers, as it needs a huge amount of lighting and mechanical systems to be able to properly heat, cool, and illuminate the space for humans. "The cost, the logic behind this completely escapes me," said Hewitt, "and I think it probably would escape many other architects and preservationists."

    What Do Norman Foster's Plans for the New York Public Library Mean for its Storied Architecture? [ARTinfo]
    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/0...plans.php#more

  8. #53
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    2,129

    Default

    wow, once again, I never knew....


  9. #54
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC - Downtown
    Posts
    32,654

    Default

    New York Public Library Shifts Plan for 5th Ave. Building

    NY TIMES
    By ROBIN POGREBIN
    September 19, 2012

    Responding to objections raised by scholars, writers, artists and others, the New York Public Library has revised its plan to remove most of the books from its flagship Fifth Avenue research center to make room for a circulating library. Library officials said that an $8 million donation would help pay for enough new storage space to keep 3.3 million of its 4.5 volumes at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, at 42nd Street.

    The change, approved by the library board on Wednesday, marks a significant shift in the Central Library Plan, a $300 million proposal to turn the historic building into the world’s largest combined research and circulating library.

    “I’m very pleased both by the outcome but also by the process,” said Anthony T. Grafton, a Princeton University history professor who serves on the plan’s advisory panel. “It seems to me we saw a great public institution and its leader actually listening to the response of its public.”

    The gift, from Abby S. Milstein, a lawyer and trustee, and her husband,Howard P. Milstein, a banker, will cover the cost of building 30,000 square feet of storage space to keep 1.5 million books that would otherwise have been sent to a warehouse in New Jersey. Scholars and others have protested plans to send the books away, arguing that research would be inhibited by the inevitable resulting delays in retrieving books, and that the changes would diminish the library’s role as a leading reference center.

    “This is a great outcome,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said in an interview. “We’re investing in good old-fashioned books for research, but we’re also working to ensure digital access and provide more education programs in branches.”

    Under the plan two Midtown library locations will be merged into the Schwarzman Building: the Mid-Manhattan Library, the system’s largest circulating library, and the Science, Industry and Business Library, where the use of print materials is decreasing because of digitization. The library expects the project to save $15 million annually in operating costs.

    Some critics said Wednesday that the expansion of book storage at 42nd Street does not address their concerns that the building be used for lending as well as research.

    “This doesn’t respond almost at all to the fundamental critique of the Central Library Plan as it still exists,” said Stanley N. Katz, a professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, who also serves on the library’s advisory panel. “One of the principal — if not the principal — rationales was, the library needed to do this to get the money to continue the research function at 42d Street. That part of it turns out not to be true.

    “Tony now has found money that is not part of the Central Library Plan to do these things,” he added. “It does raise the question whether this massive real estate plan was necessary.”

    Mr. Marx said he decided more volumes needed to stay on site after hearing feedback from staff members and a committee of scholars over the last several months. When he discussed the possibility of using the space, under Bryant Park, last spring, Mr. Marx said it would cost $20 million; on Wednesday the library said this estimate had been revised.

    In developing one of two floors of storage space under Bryant Park adjacent to the main building, seven floors’ worth of aboveground stacks built in 1911 that are closed to the public are to be removed. Some architecture experts have questioned the feasibility of doing this, given that the stacks support the Rose Reading Room, directly above.

    Mr. Marx also said that most of the books to be moved away from the site are available digitally, and that delivery of stored material to the Fifth Avenue building would improve. But Mr. Katz said the quality of these digital versions was often poor, and that the speed of delivery was unlikely to change.

    The Milsteins were traveling in China on Wednesday and unavailable for comment. In a prepared statement Ms. Milstein said: “Maintaining the heart of our research holdings adjacent to the library will preserve this invaluable resource for scholars and researchers, while allowing space for a spectacular new circulating library to better serve all of our users.”

    In addition Mr. Marx said the library would start raising money for new curatorial positions in the research divisions. The library has been criticized for cutting back on curators and librarians.

    Mr. Marx said the library is trying to rebuild a staff eroded by budget cuts. Although he has gathered reaction to the plan from various sources, critics say they still feel largely in the dark about specifics. “There hasn’t been the kind of transparency we argued for from the start,” Mr. Katz said. “There are still no numbers for any of this, still no architectural plans. So we’re still being asked to take a lot for granted.”

    The library also announced it would expand space for writers and scholars starting in early November by turning existing, nonpublic space into research rooms, including a Global Studies Room.

    The library said architects at Foster & Partners were developing plans for the mid-Manhattan circulating library.

  10. #55

    Default

    A step in the right direction. Now someone come up with another donation to keep the final 1.2 million volumes from being trucked off to a warehouse in Jersey.

  11. #56
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,476

    Default

    Firestorm on Fifth Avenue

    No one expected the force of the tempest that hit the New York Public Library in late 2011—not its new president, Anthony Marx, and maybe not even the literary lions up in arms over plans for an ambitious, $300 million renovation. Will the “palace of culture” on Fifth Avenue become a glorified Starbucks, as some fear? Interviewing all sides, Paul Goldberger walks the controversy back to its flash point: the nature of the library’s 21st-century mission and the values at the center of the Norman Foster–designed project.

    By Paul Goldberger
    Photograph by Todd Eberle

    The Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library’s main branch, on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.
    The room sits above the library’s seven-story bookstack, the center of controversy over the institution’s planned renovations.


    Not one of New York’s great cultural institutions looks today the way it did half a century ago. Since the 1970s the Metropolitan Museum has been pushing its galleries into Central Park with new glass façades; the Museum of Modern Art seems in a state of constant construction, with two towers added to West 53rd Street and another on tap; the Morgan Library gave itself a new front door into a glass atrium; and Lincoln Center has just finished a thorough makeover and expansion. Every one of these transformations has come in the name of accommodating crowds that seem to grow ever bigger, and while most of these new buildings and additions are visually spectacular, each of these institutions has been accused at one time or another, sometimes justifiably, of selling its soul for a mess of architectural pottage.

    The one exception to the architectural feeding frenzy has long seemed to be the New York Public Library, whose great 101-year-old Carrère and Hastings palace of white marble on Fifth Avenue, arguably the city’s greatest cultural building of all and surely its most beloved, looks almost exactly as it always has. It’s true that the library has modernized a lot of its innards, restored the main reading room, and slipped an addition discreetly into an interior courtyard. It also dug down under Bryant Park, its backyard, to create extra storage space for books in 1991.

    But almost every change the library made, like the underground bookstacks, was intended to be invisible—you weren’t supposed to think the library looked different, just better taken care of.

    Most of its renovations were done under the direction of Lewis Davis, an earnest, civic-minded architect who appeared to be the antithesis of the international “starchitects,” such as Renzo Piano, who did the Morgan, or Yoshio Taniguchi, who designed the most recent expansion at MoMA, or Diller Scofidio & Renfro, who oversaw the re-do of Lincoln Center.

    The library—the late Brooke Astor’s favorite cultural institution—was the place you could count on not to sell out, or at least not to disfigure itself. But it was accused of doing both in early 2008 when multiple carvings appeared in the façade, renaming the structure the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the result of a hundred-million-dollar gift from library trustee and Blackstone chairman Stephen Schwarzman. Not all of Schwarzman’s fellow trustees were happy about the idea of treating the landmark building as a naming opportunity, given how well it had done for a century as just “the New York Public Library.” And the name has not exactly caught on with the public, who are not often heard to say, “Let’s meet at the Schwarzman Building.”

    But the dustup over the renaming hardly changed the sense most people have of the library as the New York icon that needs no identification. The marble expanse guarded by its famous twin lions looked the same when it appeared in Spider-Man, in 2002, as it did in The Wiz, in 1978, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in 1961, and 42nd Street, in 1933. P. G. Wodehouse, James Baldwin, Cynthia Ozick, and Jeffrey Eugenides have put the library, and sometimes the librarians, into their fiction; Muriel Rukeyser, E. B. White, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti have written poems about the place. The library’s board, once dominated by old New York money—not just Astors but such other civic mainstays as the philanthropist Edward Harkness, the financier George Fisher Baker Jr., and Elihu Root, a secretary of state and Nobel Peace Prize winner—has for a couple of decades now been leavened not only by newer money but also by the presence of people such as Calvin Trillin, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Robert Darnton, writers and scholars who are clearly there not for their checkbooks but to emphasize that the library takes the idea of literacy and scholarship seriously.

    Fairly or not, however, that commitment came into question when the Schwarzman gift was made public, and the library said that it had another new idea, one that would change the physical form of the building a lot more than engraving a donor’s name into the façade. Paul LeClerc, the library’s president, announced a plan to reshape the interior of the building radically by removing the original seven-level bookstack, a key part of the Carrère and Hastings design, which fills most of the building’s west side under the main reading room, facing Bryant Park. What would go into the freed-up space would be a new Manhattan branch library, made up of the contents of both the Mid-Manhattan Library—the chief public circulating branch, which now occupies a run-down former department store across the street from the main library—and the Science, Industry and Business Library, a specialized branch a few blocks away in the old B. Altman department store, on 34th Street. Those two libraries would be closed, and the new construction at the main library, which was initially estimated to cost some $250 million, would be financed in part by selling to real-estate developers the spaces the two branches now occupy, as well as the Donnell Library, a branch on West 53rd Street off Fifth Avenue. As to the volumes that fill the main library’s bookstack, most of which are used primarily by scholars (as opposed to the books of the Mid-Manhattan circulating library, which is aimed more at the general public), The New York Times reported at the time that it would be an easy matter to put them underneath Bryant Park, where only half of the constructed space had ever been finished. The implication was that there was plenty of unused space just waiting for more books, which could presumably be better preserved there than in the original stacks, which lack modern temperature and humidity controls.

    The new branch library, LeClerc said, would be “a second masterpiece” inside the first one. Marshall Rose, who was formerly the library’s chairman and played a major role in conceiving of the plan, called it “a building within a building.” Lewis Davis had died in 2006, and this time the library wanted an international superstar as its architect. Rose and his fellow trustees chose the prominent British architect Norman Foster, in part because he had been successfully inserting sleek modern additions into older structures for years. Many of Foster’s new-inside-old projects, such as the elegant, filigreed glass dome atop the Reichstag, in Berlin, and the monumental glass roof over the courtyard of the British Museum, in London, had received international critical acclaim. (Disclosure: I assisted the library in 2007 in putting together a preliminary list of architects that included Foster, although I played no role in the final selection.)

    The idea got an enthusiastic review from Nicolai Ouroussoff, then the architecture critic of the Times, but neither he nor anyone else paid much attention to the fact that the report in the Times—that the books displaced from the stacks could go under Bryant Park—wasn’t entirely accurate, or at least wasn’t accurate for long, since it soon appeared that the library was planning to send most of the books in the stacks to a storage facility it has maintained since 2002 in Princeton, New Jersey. Finishing the Bryant Park space, as it turned out, was going to be too expensive.

    This shift would turn out to have significant implications. In 2008, however, it barely got onto anyone’s radar, because the economic conditions—the library announced the project the same week that Bear Stearns collapsed—meant that the books clearly weren’t going anywhere very soon; with the market for its real-estate properties dead, the city government facing deficits, and private donors closing their checkbooks, the library didn’t have the money to build a thing.

    Stealth Endeavor

    As quickly as it had appeared, then, the plan seemed to slide into oblivion. In early 2009, Foster had bought an apartment on Fifth Avenue and opened a branch office for his London firm in the Hearst Building, the skyscraper that was his first New York project, hoping that the visibility and prestige of the library commission would boost his growing American presence. Instead, he all but stopped working on the designs, which hadn’t gone much beyond a conceptual study and a very preliminary model. Then in November, LeClerc, an elegant scholar of Voltaire and the French Enlightenment who had run the library for 17 years with the air of a cultivated ambassador, announced his intention to retire as its president in 2011, and later that year the board’s chair of seven years, Catherine Marron, or “Catie” (the wife of former Paine Webber C.E.O. Donald Marron), decided it was time for her to step down, too. A year after the Foster scheme was announced, it looked as if it had about as much chance of going forward as a new headquarters for Bear Stearns.

    Marshall Rose, however, was not discouraged. Rose, 75, a real-estate developer who is married to the actress Candice Bergen, has spent much of his career doing pro bono work for cultural institutions behind the scenes, and has built a certain reputation as a thoughtful and patient man in an industry of bluster. Rose is quiet, and it sometimes seems that the quieter he gets, the more he manages to exert his will. He continued to work with Joanna Pestka, the library’s chief architect, and David Offensend, the chief operating officer, and some of his board colleagues. He knew that the library couldn’t afford the Foster renovation in 2008, but by 2011 things were looking up. Shortly before LeClerc retired, the Bloomberg administration committed $150 million of city funds to the “C.L.P.,” or Central Library Plan, which is what library officials, with a disquieting kind of corporate-speak, had started to call the project. With the city gift in hand, Norman Foster was told to dust off his plans and turn them into something buildable.

    When the C.L.P. began to come back to life, it was almost as a stealth endeavor. The library didn’t have a final version of the architectural plans to show anyone—it still doesn’t—and despite the city’s commitment, the library didn’t have enough money to set a starting date. Since the idea of replacing the stacks with a new, Foster-designed library inside the Carrère and Hastings building had already been made public in 2008, nobody at the library thought there was anything more to say.

    And there was no one to say it anyway, since as the project was coming back to life Catie Marron was preparing to turn over her gavel to Neil Rudenstine, the former president of Harvard, who was taking over as the library’s chairman, and LeClerc was cleaning out his office to make way for his successor, Anthony Marx, a 52-year-old political scientist who had just stepped down as president of Amherst College. The administration of the library, or at least the people who serve as its public face, was “in transition,” which is a polite way of saying that no one paid much attention to how the renovation might be positioned, or realized that in an age of blogs and Twitter very few things that large and prominent institutions do stay under wraps for very long.

    In late November of 2011, when the revival of the project had barely begun, Scott Sherman, a writer for The Nation, produced a long, exhaustive article—a cover story, no less—that looked into all of the economic, social, and technological challenges the library was facing, and stated that the Central Library Plan “would not only weaken one of the world’s great libraries but mar the architectural integrity of [its] landmark building.” If the library was so interested in increasing public access, Sherman asked, wouldn’t it make more sense to put those millions of dollars into neighborhood branch libraries? Was dismantling the historic bookstack really the best way to democratize the library? After Sherman put the plan back on the public radar screen, the blogosphere began to spread word about its revival and the mainstream press took up the story. Marx—who had been on the job for less than a year—Rose, Marron, Rudenstine, and the rest of the board were startled to discover that they were not being hailed for saving the library. They were being accused of destroying it.

    The library may not have had an architectural disaster on its hands, but it certainly had a public-relations disaster. Almost no one in the press had a kind word to say about the library’s plans. There was a halfhearted editorial of support in The New York Times, but it was more than offset by a Times op-ed piece by the historian Edmund Morris, which ran under the headline SACKING A PALACE OF CULTURE. Morris accused the library of planning to remove most of its books and replace them with popular novels and an Internet café, and he complained that the writers and scholars who used the library would have to put up with the sound of sneakers squeaking on the marble floors. The Guardian, in London, wrote that the New York Public Library had “a plan to disembowel its main building.”

    What startled the library most of all, however, was the way in which members of the literary community, the part of the library’s constituency that it was least accustomed to being at odds with, seemed to rise as one in opposition to the plan. After the Nation story ran, Joan Scott, a professor of history at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, e-mailed her colleague Stanley Katz at the Woodrow Wilson School, across town at Princeton University. “We’ve got to do something about this,” Scott said. She put together a letter to the library, posted it online, and asked for signatures. “We had hoped for a couple of hundred signatures, and then the names started to tumble in from all over the world,” Katz told me. “In the end we had a couple of thousand. It’s a wonderful example of the power of the Internet.” Mario Vargas Llosa, Peter Carey, Caleb Crain, Colm Tóibín, Jonathan Lethem, and Salman Rushdie were among the writers who signed the petition, which said that if the plan went forward the revered New York Public Library would “become a busy social center where focused research is no longer the primary goal,” and urged the library trustees to reconsider.

    What particularly troubled the writers was the notion that most of the three million books in the stacks would be shipped to New Jersey, where they would join two million of the library’s books that are already there. In theory, any book could be retrieved and sent to New York within 24 hours. A day isn’t much if you are working on a two-year research project. But if you are a student or a visiting scholar who has saved up to come to New York for a week to do research on books you can find only at the New York Public Library, the delay can be critical. And while more and more of the library’s collection is being digitized, many scholars consider it necessary to consult original volumes, not online replicas, and feared that the entire project was little more than an attempt to downgrade the importance of physical books.

    Marx was receiving a swift induction into the blood sport known as New York cultural politics. He gave his opponents some fresh ammunition when, referring nonchalantly to the fact that the new Mid-Manhattan Library would occupy the area of the current storage stacks, he said that the plan would “replace books with people.” Putting people where books had been, Edmund Morris and the petitioning writers seemed to say, was precisely the problem. There was talk that the library was turning itself into a glorified Starbucks—wild exaggerations, given that there was no such thing in the plans, but the library at that point was doing nothing to dispel such rumors.

    “Dowdy and Awful”

    If Paul LeClerc cultivated an air of relaxed formality, Anthony Marx comes off as energetically casual. He has tucked informal seating into one corner of the president’s office, a vast, paneled room overlooking Fifth Avenue, and put an Eames lounge chair in the other. An enormous oak conference table occupies the middle of the room. Marx seems most comfortable not sitting in any of these places but walking around the library, greeting staff members, and poking his head into nooks and crannies, of which there is no shortage. He does not, as a rule, wear a tie. He talks of the library, and of almost everything in his life, with enthusiasm bordering on gusto. Marx grew up in Inwood, in upper Manhattan, the son of parents who had escaped the Holocaust; he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, and from there went to Wesleyan and Yale. In the 1980s, while he was working on his Ph.D. in political science at Princeton, he helped found Khanya College, a South African secondary school that prepares black students to attend college.

    At Amherst he was a breath of fresh air, a young, breezy, and informal president in a buttoned-up institution who seemed able to communicate his respect for the institution’s traditions without being bound by them. His key achievement as president was increasing the diversity of Amherst’s student body, mainly through enhanced scholarship aid, without compromising its rigorous academic standards. Predictably, a conservative segment of alumni were put out by the changes, grumbling that the college was no longer “their Amherst,” but most everyone was pleased with Marx’s success at increasing the school’s endowment.

    Marx first learned about the Central Library Project when he was being interviewed for the N.Y.P.L. president’s job. He knew the library had severe financial constraints—he didn’t fully comprehend how severe—and he agreed that the plan made sense as a long-term solution, in part because he saw little value in keeping the Mid-Manhattan Library as it was.

    “I studied in the Mid-Manhattan Library in the 70s when I was in high school, and it was dowdy and awful then,” Marx told me. “It’s the most used branch library in the United States, and it is horrible. There is no way to renovate it without closing the place entirely, so we are going to have to move it at some point.”

    If the Mid-Manhattan Library is run-down, the seven-floor structure of bookstacks beneath the Rose Main Reading Room is hardly in better shape. The bookstack, unlike the frumpy Mid-Manhattan Library, is a magnificent artifact, an elaborate structure of steel and iron designed for rapid retrieval and delivery of books to readers waiting in the monumental reading room above. But it is neither well air-conditioned nor humidity-controlled, and its conditions are more conducive to the destruction of old books than to the preservation of them. (Paper deteriorates more rapidly in fluctuating temperatures and high humidity.) With low ceilings, open space between floor levels, and almost no room for ductwork, the bookstack would be difficult, if not impossible, to turn into the kind of controlled environment the library has in New Jersey—or, for that matter, underneath Bryant Park.

    When the protests against the project began, Marx found himself having to cope with an outpouring of resentment against a plan he had played no part in creating. His career before he took over the library would suggest that he might have been more inclined to give priority to strengthening the library’s neighborhood branches, many of which are starved for funds. But he inherited both the concept of the Central Library Plan and its architect, and it is unlikely that the trustees would have hired him had he balked at carrying out Foster’s plan.

    In the beginning, his defenses of the Central Library Plan seemed methodical, as if motivated more by loyalty to his new bosses, the library’s trustees, than by his own convictions. Of course, his dutiful stance may have owed something to the fact that, in November of 2011, Marx suffered the public embarrassment of being arrested in upper Manhattan for driving while intoxicated, after which he was clearly not going to do anything to ruffle feathers further. Even before that incident, however, his relationship to the trustees was complicated by the clear difference in style between him and LeClerc, who seemed to enjoy the social side of the president’s job a lot more than Marx did. Not long after his arrival, Marx suggested that the library’s major fund-raising dinner, called the Literary Lions and overseen for years by Gayfryd Steinberg, a longtime trustee and the wife of the financier Saul Steinberg, was rather more opulent than necessary. Elaborate and expensive decorations were not what the library was about, he said, and he called for a stripped-down Literary Lions dinner. This move made Marx no friends, and cost him a few of his allies among the trustees, at least until he quickly conceded that he had misread the spirit of the library’s donors. The dinner is once again being ramped up.

    As Marx settled in and the embarrassment of the driving arrest receded (he lost his driver’s license for six months, and after his suspension ended he decided that he would forgo owning a car in the city), he seemed to take more ownership of the Central Library Plan. By last spring, when he decided to appear at a public forum about the plan at the New School and confront critics directly—the tenor of the forum was heated but civil—the C.L.P. was clearly Tony Marx’s baby.

    The plan is now budgeted at $300 million, but Marx is unequivocal in his belief that going ahead with it is not just the only way in which the library can assure its financial security, but the best route toward the open, democratic institution he wants the library to be. “We are envisioning something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world,” he said to me. “We are combining a great research library and a huge circulating library. We want everyone from the unemployed to the Nobel laureate. If this building works, it will lead the schoolkids who come here to aspire to what the Nobel laureate is doing.” He asserts that closing the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library and incorporating them into the main library will save $15 million per year as well as allow the institution to recoup the value of those properties—money that, at least in theory, could go toward hiring more library staff and buying more books. Funding for both professional staff and acquisitions was cut back during LeClerc’s administration, contributing to the climate of mistrust that now surrounds the library’s relationship with writers and scholars.

    Marx resents the notion that the renovation will compromise the library’s service to scholars. “We have a fundamental responsibility to preserve the great research collections and to assure the public access to them,” he said.

    Marx makes a clear distinction between the complaints of writers and scholars such as Joan Scott and Stanley Katz—who was one of Marx’s advisers when he got his Ph.D. at Princeton—and the keep-the-riffraff-out argument Edmund Morris made in his op-ed. Marx established an advisory committee of writers and scholars and met with Scott and Katz. Robert Darnton, the library trustee who is also the director of the University Library at Harvard, wrote his own defense of the library plan in The New York Review of Books, and while he took pains to say that he was writing not as a trustee but “only in my capacity as a private individual,” his essay was nevertheless as close to an official response to the piece in The Nation as there was going to be.

    Off-site storage is a fact of life in the 21st century, along with digitization, Darnton wrote, and he argued that they did not have to compromise the seriousness of the library’s mission. “What I care about more than anything else is the democratization of knowledge, and libraries, far from being obsolete, are at the center of all of this,” Darnton said to me, sitting in the 18th-century house in Harvard Yard that serves as his office.

    Marx was not happy to begin his tenure by battling with an academic community that he considered himself still a part of. He decided that the writers and academics were right about a few things, mainly the fact that delivery service from the library’s storage facility in Princeton was erratic, and that the institution was suffering from the loss of professional staff, particularly curators of some of the library’s smaller, less frequently used collections. He said he intended to fix both.

    “This project will solve three problems,” Marx said to me. “The Mid-Manhattan Library, the care and storage of books, and the need to increase librarians and acquisitions.” He paused. “You know, the New York Public Library is the fourth- or fifth-greatest research library in the world, but we don’t have money from Congress that the Library of Congress has, or from Parliament, like the British Library, and we aren’t like the Harvard library, with Harvard’s $31 billion endowment.”

    In late September, the library made a major concession to the writers and scholars. It announced that it had reconsidered the question of where the books removed from the stacks would go, and that—thanks to an $8 million gift from Abby Milstein, a library trustee, and her husband, Howard, of the real-estate and banking family—it was prepared to finish the second level under Bryant Park after all, keeping another 1.5 million books on the premises. “I think they are shocked at how responsive we’ve been,” Marx told me, regarding the petitioning writers.

    Marx had considerably less patience with the viewpoint of Edmund Morris, whose op-ed seemed the ranting more of a snob than a scholar. Morris’s implication that the Carrère and Hastings building existed solely for the benefit of scholarly research suggested that his own historical research was less than first-rate, since the Fifth Avenue building contained a public lending library for 60 years, from the day it opened in 1911 until 1971, when the circulating branch outgrew its space and the Mid-Manhattan Library was created across the street to replace it. (The original local branch is now the Celeste Bartos Forum, a lecture hall.)

    The idea that the New York Public Library should not welcome everyone, scholars and casual readers alike, enrages Tony Marx, given how much he has focused his career on making established institutions more open to minorities. It hardly pleases the trustees, either, who have believed consistently in a vision of the library as a progressive institution. In fact, it is something of a paradox that so far as the Central Library Plan is concerned, the blue-blooded trustees represent what might be considered a more progressive view than do the writers and scholars.

    The other day, at the end of a conversation in his office, Marx took me next door, into the Trustees Room, a corner room so ornate that Carrère and Hastings could have conceived it as the seat of an empire. (President Obama has borrowed the room to hold a reception for heads of state during the United Nations General Assembly.) He pointed to the white marble chimneypiece, sculpted with a likeness of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. “Look at that quote carved above the fireplace,” he said. “It says, ‘The City of New York has erected this building for the free use of all the people.’ You notice it says ‘all the people.’ It doesn’t say ‘some of the people.’ ”

    From Private to Public

    There’s an irony there. The New York Public Library is unusual among public institutions in that it began as a private one—as three private ones, in fact. In 1895, the Astor Library, a privately funded library for public use that occupied the building on Lafayette Street that is now the Public Theater, joined with the Lenox Library, another private library, which was housed in a Richard Morris Hunt building on the site at Fifth Avenue and East 70th Street now occupied by the Frick Collection, and the Tilden Trust, to which funds had been left by Samuel J. Tilden (a wealthy lawyer and failed presidential candidate) to create a public library. The city of New York agreed to build a new home for the consolidated library, which would carry the name of the city itself: this combination of three private institutions would be, in every way, the people’s library.

    And it would be even grander than any of the private institutions from which it was descended. Dr. John Shaw Billings, the former curator of the Surgeon General’s Library in Washington, had been hired as the N.Y.P.L.’s first director, and he had some very clear notions of what he wanted the library to be. Billings was determined that it be efficient as well as monumental, and he let it be known that he disliked round reading rooms like the famous one at the British Library. He wanted a rectangular reading room, and he wanted it at the top of the building, so that scholars would feel removed from the mess and noise of the city streets. To allow for rapid delivery of books, Billings situated the stacks directly below the reading room. The trustees quibbled a bit about Billings’s idea of raising the reading room—some of them felt it would be odd to place the most important room of the building so far away from the entrance—but the metaphorical appeal of elevating the notion of reading and scholarship won the day. It went without saying that the building would be traditional in style. This was the 1890s, when the City Beautiful Movement was on the ascendant, and cities vied with one another as to which could produce more civic monuments of Beaux Arts grandeur.

    John M. Carrère and Thomas Hastings, who at that point had been in practice for a dozen years, were the clear winners of an invited competition, beating out McKim, Mead & White, George B. Post, and Ernest Flagg with a design that followed Billings’s layout precisely, wrapping it in a structure of remarkable dignity, elegance, and grace. It took nearly 14 years from the conclusion of the competition, in 1897, to the day in May of 1911 when the library opened, a delay attributable partly to the challenges of removing the obsolete Croton Reservoir on the site, partly to the complexity of the ornate design, and quite a bit to the fact that the project was not immune to the mix of political and labor disputes that bedevil large-scale construction in New York to this day.

    But the finished building, which President William Howard Taft came up from Washington to dedicate, was a triumph, more refined and more opulent than the city’s other great Beaux Arts masterpieces, such as Grand Central Terminal, the original Pennsylvania Station, and the Metropolitan Museum. The city of New York, the building seemed to say, so believed in the value of literacy that it was willing to build a marble palace for its library, and it so believed in the value of its citizenry that it wanted to put that library into the very best architecture that the age was capable of producing.

    From the beginning, the city hailed the architects—or architect, since only Hastings lived to the opening day. Carrère had died suddenly a couple of months before, one of the first victims of an automobile accident. The city opened the building to the public for a single day in March, two and a half months before it was completed, so that his coffin could lie in state in what is now Astor Hall, the vestibule on Fifth Avenue. Later, busts of both Carrère and Hastings were placed on the main stairwell, making the library one of the few New York buildings that pay proper homage to its architects.

    Hastings went on to do numerous other projects, including the headquarters of Standard Oil at 26 Broadway, but the library always remained his favorite, so much so that he continued to obsess over it long after its completion. He said he was not fully happy about how he had handled the main entry portico, which contains single columns on the outside and two pairs of columns in the center, all set within the frame of great stone piers. He redesigned it to contain four pairs of columns projecting out in front of the stone piers, which he cut back to soften the lines of the building. Hastings and his wife left $100,000 in their will to reconstruct the portico; the library received the money after she died, in 1939, but the change was never carried out.

    It is just as well, because the strong, austere form of the portico as it was actually built is one of the building’s great strengths, better than the more florid version in the original design for the architectural competition and better than Hastings’s post-construction redesign. The portico’s bluntness and clarity remind you that classicism isn’t only a matter of decoration but also of forms and masses. The Fifth Avenue façade feels almost, but not quite, proto-modern.

    The architecture truly is proto-modern on the other side of the building, facing Bryant Park, where Carrère and Hastings expressed the presence of the bookstacks with a series of tall, narrow, vertical windows set into a flat exterior. Above them is a series of grandly scaled arched windows, reflecting the reading room atop the stacks. It adds up to one of the most remarkable façades in New York: at once classical and modern, and as monumental in its modern aspects as its traditional ones.

    The library’s current plans do not include tampering with this façade, which would likely turn historic preservationists against the plan just as the library is beginning to make peace with scholars and writers. Marx would like to create a direct connection between the library and Bryant Park someday, and Foster reportedly agrees, but the C.L.P. is hardly dependent on it. Foster would not speak on the record about the latest, and presumably final, version of his design, which is scheduled to be presented to the library trustees in mid-November. He was still working on it when we met over the summer, and he would discuss the project only in very general terms.

    At every stage of its evolution the design has called for the new library’s primary entrance to be through the existing 42nd Street entry, but there will also be a way in from the traditional main entrance, on Fifth Avenue. Far from compromising the Beaux Arts classicism of the building, Foster’s plans here may in one way enhance it. The Fifth Avenue entrance would be through what is now Gottesman Hall, the library’s exhibition hall directly opposite the front door, which now ends in a solid wall where it bumps up against the side of the bookstacks. Foster’s plan is to open up that wall, which will allow visitors to walk in a straight line through the Fifth Avenue doors through Astor Hall, through Gottesman Hall, and right into the new library, giving the building the classical, Beaux Arts central axis that it has never had.

    Because the library’s Fifth Avenue entrance is a floor higher than the ground-floor entry on 42nd Street, the visitor coming into the new library from Fifth Avenue will arrive on a balcony, roughly in the middle of the former bookstack space. A grand staircase will lead down to the main level, one floor below. Foster’s plans reportedly call for an open atrium all along the west side, freeing the narrow bookstack windows to be seen in their full height. Viewing the entire wall of vertical windows from top to bottom, all the way across the building, could be a spectacular architectural experience. Each level of the new library will be, in effect, a balcony looking out toward Bryant Park.

    Marx was so excited about this when he saw the preliminary designs that he asked Foster early on if he would study the possibility of widening the windows. That could have been an aesthetic disaster, and was never a serious possibility: Foster balked, and such a plan would never have gotten past the Landmarks Preservation Commission anyway. Since then Marx has become much more understanding of the respect with which the library’s unusual backside is held in architectural circles.

    Even leaving the exterior of the library untouched, however, has not fully calmed some historic preservationists, who have argued that the bookstack should not be altered or dismantled, since it is a key part of the original Carrère and Hastings design. There is no doubt of its historical importance, but given the difficulties with bringing the bookstack up to present-day standards of temperature and humidity control, keeping it functioning is hard to justify.

    Indeed, it may be worth asking—amid all of this talk about what is best for scholars and writers and librarians and preservationists—what is best for the books themselves? They are, after all, the reason the library exists; they were here before the digital files that now make up so much of this and every library’s collection. The library’s obligation is to protect them for future generations, for whom old books may turn out to be rare gems of a past civilization. And it is hard to argue that the old bookstack, striking as it is, is the best place in which to keep bound volumes of yellowing paper.

    What is clear is that everyone, opponents and supporters of the plan alike, seems to cherish the New York Public Library, which is revered in a way that few cultural institutions are any longer. It may be short of money, but it is not short of users: last year the central research library had nearly two and a half million visitors—a record.

    “The library is peculiar,” Neil Rudenstine, the chairman, said to me, “in that it has no identifiable constituency other than all of New York, and the world.”

    http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/20...el-controversy

  12. #57

    Default

    There are more renderings in the article, but the pics didn't transfer. Click on bottom link.

    After Criticism, Public Library Offers Peek at Renovation Plans



    dbox/Foster + Partners
    A rendering of the Gottesman Exhibition Hall of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue after renovation. Click to enlarge.
    By ROBIN POGREBIN

    Published: December 19, 2012



    In the 10 months since the New York Public Library announced plans for a $300 million renovation of its Fifth Avenue flagship building, scholars and writers have accused the library of abandoning its commitment to research and questioned how the circulating library across the street could be shoehorned into a treasured landmark.





    But something crucial has been missing from this debate: what the transformed library will actually look like. On Wednesday, that will become clear when the library unveils the design by the British architect Norman Foster. Using space at the back of the building now occupied by seven floors of stacks, Mr. Foster has essentially created a major new contemporary library within Carrère & Hastings’s neo-Classical one.
    The plans call for opening the building’s central axis from the Fifth Avenue entrance through to the Bryant Park side, where there will be a four-level atrium, with bookshelves, sitting areas and desks, that will replace the stacks space, which is now closed to the public. For the first time since the library was completed in 1911, patrons will be able to view Bryant Park through the tall, narrow windows on the ground floor.


    dbox/Foster + Partners

    A rendering of what would be the New York Public Library’s new circulating library overlooking Bryant Park, as envisioned by Norman Foster. Click to enlarge.

    “We need to be respectful of the beloved, iconic building and to create a new inspiring space,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said in an interview in his office in the Fifth Avenue building. “At a time when people wonder about the future of libraries, we’re going to create the greatest library the world has ever seen.”
    The plan initially provoked controversy because the library had proposed moving most of the books in the stacks into storage in New Jersey to make room for the new circulating library. Scholars and writers protested that the renovation would result in long waits to retrieve the off-site books and diminish the library’s role as a leading reference center. The money, they argued, should be directed instead toward rejuvenating dilapidated branch libraries.
    In response, the library recently revised its plan with the help of an $8 million donation to create more space for books beneath the new circulating library so that 3.3 million of the research library’s 4.5 million volumes will remain on site.
    Still, critics have accused the library of being secretive about the specifics of its renovation plans. In particular, they have repeatedly called on the library to make the design public.
    “In August I was told schematics would be ready in September,” the architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable wrote this month in The Wall Street Journal. “In September I was told they would be available in October. In October I was told it would happen in November. In November I was promised a presentation in December. Any experienced architect would know that studies are well under way. The library has been less than forthcoming, and sensitivity to criticism has obviously reached a fever pitch.”
    The library said the designs were not refined until now.
    At about 100,000 square feet, the new library will be the largest indoor public space in New York, officials said. It will consolidate the operations of the Mid-Manhattan circulating library across the street and the Science, Industry and Business Library, on Madison Avenue at 34th Street, both of which will be sold. Construction on the project, known as the Central Library Plan, is expected to begin this summer and to be completed in 2018.


    dbox/Foster + Partners

    Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer and to be completed in 2018. Click to enlarge.

    Mr. Foster has made something of a specialty of designing contemporary additions to historic buildings — examples include the Reichstag in Berlin (1999), the British Museum in London (2000) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, which share an atrium (2007). In New York City, he designed the Hearst Tower (2006), which placed a glass skyscraper atop a 1928 limestone landmark.
    Because the central library building is widely revered — initial criticisms included concerns that it would be turned into a glorified Starbucks — Mr. Foster said he knew better than to desecrate a masterpiece.
    “It would be unthinkable to play around with those spaces which are so wonderfully intact and have become venerated, hallowed, over time and are steeped in history,” Mr. Foster said in a telephone interview. “This is not an attempt to mimic that design, but to respect it.”
    While building materials have not yet been chosen, they will likely echo those used in the existing building — wood, bronze, stone — “the vocabulary of materials that already runs throughout the building,” Mr. Foster said. “Materials that would weather and improve with age evoke an atmosphere of study and contemplation.”
    At the same time, library officials say, Mr. Foster has designed a space that is clearly advanced aesthetically, technologically and environmentally. “We wanted to do something that complemented the research library but brought it into the 21st century,” said Marshall Rose, the library’s chairman emeritus, who is a member of the board committee overseeing the project.


    Next Page »

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/ar...IXVx/OVCnOC7RQ
    Last edited by mariab; December 19th, 2012 at 01:45 AM.

  13. #58
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,476

    Default

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

    by Nicole Anderson

    (click images to enlarge)


    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.


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

    The plan is to transfer approximately 3 million books to new storage spaces beneath Bryant Park, and then send the remaining 1.2 million books to an off-site location in New Jersey. The newly renovated NYPL building on 42nd would then house the collections from the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Library.


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

    “We are reasserting the library’s main axis and its very special sequence of spaces, from the main Fifth Avenue entrance and the Astor Hall, through the Gottesman Hall, into the dramatic volume of the new circulating library, with views through to the park,” Foster said in a statement on the firm’s website. “Our design does not seek to alter the character of the building, which will remain unmistakably a library in its feel, in its details, materials, and lighting. It will remain a wonderful place to study. The parts that are currently inaccessible will be opened up, inviting the whole of the community—it is a strategy that reflects the principles of a free institution upon which the library was first founded.”


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

    http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/52071

  14. #59
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,476

    Default

    New York Public Library Renovation Gets Landmarks Approval

    by Jeremiah Budin



    In a hearing yesterday afternoon, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved Norman Foster's redesign of the New York Public Library, with only one commissioner voting against [correction: the vote was 6-2]. Despite fervent public opposition to the renovation's most controversial aspect—the removal of seven levels of bookstacks under the Rose Reading Room—the commissioners kept their discussion limited, for the most part, to the exterior of the building. Ultimately, they had few qualms about the changes to the facade and rooftop, which commissioner Fred Bland called "incredibly sensitive and minor." The various researchers (upset over the removal of the stacks) and preservationists (upset in general) who offered testimony didn't quite see it that way.

    Much of the public testimony focused on the design of the Bryant Park-facing west facade of the building and its relation to the stacks, which are, in addition to being, as described by archicritic Paul Goldberger, "a magnificent artifact, an elaborate structure of steel and iron designed for rapid retrieval and delivery of books to readers waiting in the monumental reading room above," structurally important in that they provide support for the Rose Reading Room. Foster's plan would replace the stacks with columns and make the space into an open area, part of NYPL President Tony Marx's stated mission to "replace books with people" (or, as the redesign's critics might say, to turn a distinguished and revered research institution into some sort of glossy Internet cafe).

    More than one person made the case that since the west facade was given long, vertical windows in order to light the stacks, removing the stacks would dissolve the marriage of form and function (and interior and exterior) that had been key to Carrère & Hastings' original design. Charles Warren, co-author of Carrère & Hastings, Architects, was more to the point: "If you stop the small things, which you have the power to do, you may stop the big thing, which you perceive to be beyond your grasp." Not a bad try by any means, but the LPC wasn't having it. Work on the renovation is expected to begin this summer and be completed by 2018.

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/0...s_approval.php

  15. #60
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    7,476

    Default

    Unpacking the Stacks

    Foster + Partners reveals design for radically altered New York Public Library.

    by Nicole Anderson

    When the New York Public Library first announced plans for an estimated $300 million overhaul of its flagship branch, the grand Beaux Arts-style building on Fifth Avenue, protests ensued from scholars, writers, and ordinary users who regard the institution as a sacred resource for research and learning. In December, Foster + Partners revealed the designs for this controversial renovation, which would re-locate millions of books and open up to the public a section of the library previously occupied by stacks. The plan calls for a merger of the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Library (on Madison at 34th Street) into the renovated flagship building on 42nd Street. As part of the process, NYPL will transfer approximately 3 million books to a humidity-controlled chamber beneath Bryant Park, then send the remaining 1.2 million books to an off-site location in New Jersey.

    The New York Public Library sees the renovation as an effort to alleviate high operating costs, which a spokesperson says could loosen up “$15 million dollars more to spend annually.” But critics are skeptical. In a letter addressed to NYPL President Anthony W. Marx, a group of 750 signers voiced concern about the renovation—pointing out that budget cutbacks and staff layoffs in the last few years already have impaired the services of and access to research materials in libraries across New York City:

    “NYPL will lose its standing as a premier research institution (second only to the Library of Congress in the United States)—a destination for international as well as American scholars—and become a busy social center where focused research is no longer the primary goal,” the opponents warned. “Books will be harder to get when they’re needed either because of delays in locating them in the storage facility or because they have been checked out to borrowers.”

    In spite of the objections, NYPL stands behind its plan to transform what the institution describes as the “underutilized” library Carrere and Hastings created into “The People’s Palace.”

    The designs unveiled by Foster + Partners will remove seven floors of stacks under the grand Rose Main Reading Room to make way for a workspace with an expansive atrium, vaulted ceiling, balconies, bookshelves, and new areas devoted to classrooms and computer labs. Without the
    stacks, the floor-to-ceiling windows will let in light to the space and provide views of Bryant Park. As of now, interior finishes will include a combination of bronze, wood, and stone.

    Even with strong opposition to the renovation, the New York Public Library is forging ahead with it plans and making progress. In January, 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.

    New York Public Library and Foster + Partners are choosing their words carefully as they try to alleviate concerns about the changes and reassure critics that the renovation will honor and maintain the mission of the library and respect the historic structure of the flagship branch.

    “Our design does not seek to alter the character of the building, which will remain unmistakably a library in its feel, in its details, materials, and lighting. It will remain a wonderful place to study,” principal Norman Foster said in a statement. “The parts that are currently inaccessible will be opened up, inviting the whole of the community—it is a strategy that reflects the principles of a free institution upon which the library was first founded.”

    http://www.archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=6500

Page 4 of 6 FirstFirst 123456 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Greenwich Street 'Restoration'
    By Kris in forum New York City Guide For New Yorkers
    Replies: 46
    Last Post: December 21st, 2013, 06:05 PM
  2. The Bronx River's Restoration
    By Kris in forum New York City Guide For New Yorkers
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: December 9th, 2012, 12:29 AM
  3. Public Observation Decks
    By JCDJ in forum New York City Guide For Visitors
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: August 5th, 2003, 04:36 PM
  4. Big Planning Projects: Avoiding the Public?
    By Agglomeration in forum New York City Guide For New Yorkers
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: April 10th, 2003, 01:33 AM
  5. Former Tiffany Building Gets a Solid Restoration
    By Edward in forum New York Real Estate
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: February 14th, 2002, 12:54 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Google+ - Facebook - Twitter - Meetup

Edward's photos on Flickr - Wired New York on Flickr - In Queens - In Red Hook - Bryant Park - SQL Backup Software