Foster + Partners unveil re-design for New York Public Library

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World renowned architects, Foster + Partners unveiled its $300m proposal for the renovation of Carrere and Hastings’s masterpiece, the New York Public Library.

The design is promised to preserve the building’s legacy while integrating a modern circulating library, with Foster’s “library within a library” concept, transforming seven floors of stacks into advanced public spaces.

“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 with the New York Times. “At a time when people wonder about the future of libraries, we’re going to create the greatest library the world has ever seen.”

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With an aim to make the library more inviting and permeable by bringing the books to the fore rather than hiding them away, the new design will utilise unused reading rooms, back of the house spaces, offices and book stacks.

Visitors will be able to walk in through the grand Fifth Avenue portico and Astor Hall into Gottesman Hall, seeing a display of some of the most important pieces from the treasure gallery.

Norman Foster said: “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.”

He continued: “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.”

The construction of the project, known as the ‘Central Library Plan’ is expected to commence during the summer with a completion date anticipated for 2018.

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