New York Public Library's historical fifth avenue location is going to be moving into the future, with a redesign and renovation by award-winning architect Norman Foster and his firm. With a four level atrium and seventy-five miles of shelves, the building aims to preserve big public spaces while creating more areas for laptops, research and the technology of the future.
"The project aims to safeguard the building's legacy and precious books for future generations. The existing research library will be retained as it is today, with more space for researchers, as will many of the public spaces – the project will open twice as much of the building to the public and will restore the logic of the Neo-Classical design to improve the experience of the library's historic halls. The two circulating collections will be housed in a spectacular new space previously occupied by book stacks."
"The centrepiece of the 5th Avenue and 42nd Street building is the magnificent Rose Reading Room, below which are seven storeys of book stacks. However, these stacks are inaccessible to the public and no longer meet the needs of the books they contain. The books will be moved to a large humidity-controlled chamber under Bryant Park, the ideal environment for their conservation. Thus the stack space is freed to create a new 'library within a library' comprised of the Mid-Manhattan collections and the Science, Industry and Business Library – reinstating a circulating library to the NYPL main building, as had originally existed until the 1980s."
"The 13,000 structural points of the existing stacks will be replaced with an innovative new vaulted stone and steel cradle. This move will free the floors from the west façade, allowing them to be peeled back to form a series of balconies – in the process revealing the full height of the slender windows internally for the first time. New study areas will line the perimeter of the balconies and new reading platforms will sit beneath the vaulted ceilings, which are carefully attuned to ensure excellent acoustic performance. A new internal atrium runs the full length of the base of the circulation library, connecting the visitor facilities to the building's accessible entrance on 42nd Street."
"The design aims to make the building more inviting, more permeable and to bring the books to the fore rather than hide them away. Starting with the circulation strategy, the central axis through the Neo-Classical building will be reasserted. For the first time, the westerly doors of the Gottesman Hall will be opened up, restoring a sense of symmetry and intuitive circulation across the building. Visitors will enter the new circulation library on a balcony in the centre of the former book stack space, where they will face elevated views of Bryant Park. From here, a grand staircase will sweep down to the main level, aligned with the park, and further to the state-of-the-art education and business library below."