Foster chosen for New York public library renovation

The historic library by John Carrère and Thomas Hastings at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street opened in 1911 as a symbol of the City’s commitment to culture and knowledge. Today it is protected as a National Historic Landmark. It offers free access to its collections and information, as well as to its range of services. It also comprises four research centres.

Last week the library announced that it had selected Foster + Partners from a list of over 30 considered candidate firms to create the design to transform The New York Public Library’s buildings into the world’s largest library open to the public, expecting 3.5 million visitors a year. The library will undergo a four-year renovation of existing storage space, converting it into usable space for library visitors. It will also offer improved exhibition spaces, hundreds of computers and full wireless access, meeting rooms, program venues, and a café.

“The New York Public Library is a magnificent building with a powerful civic presence, both locally and internationally,” said Lord Foster. “Significantly, it is also the flagship of a network of 89 community libraries throughout Manhattan, and its cultural and intellectual range is extraordinary. This project – to remodel the existing building to complement the research facility with a new Circulating Library – is unprecedented at this scale. Our approach to its transformation is led by an enormous respect for the historic building, combined with a clear vision for future change? We seek to achieve the right balance between history and technology; between access-for-all and scholarship.”
Designs for the project are expected to be completed over a two-year period.

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