February 04, 2013

Think of all the words beneath your blades.

Via New York Magazine, Rendering by dbox/Foster + Partners

Quiet, Please by Justin Davidson
New York Magazine, 12/31/12 to 1/7/13

Justin Davidson on the renovation that will take place at the New York Public Library--one of my favorite buildings in New York City!--despite the disapproval of many. Recently released renderings show just how the renovations will transform the space. I think it sounds awesome.

"Since the day the library opened in 1911, anyone, from the barely literate to the Nobel laureate, could pass between the friendly lions and climb the imperial-scale stairs to the third-floor reading rooms, with their profusion of sunlight and carved timber, and their great oak tables burnished by millions of elbows."

"Some are still headed for exile — mostly those that have been digitized — but the majority will fit in a soon-to-be-reconditioned, climate-controlled vault below Bryant Park. Next time you glide across the ice at Christmastime, think of all the words beneath your blades."

"It’s not clear from the provisional renderings, but this reimagined space — an old-fashioned lending library, despite fears of a bookless techno-center — could prove as spectacular in its high-gloss, millennial way as the ornate rooms of a century ago. A dozen new steel trees would rise 60 feet, branching at the top to carry the weight of the reading rooms above. Three mezzanines, clothed in warm brass and wood, will hang in this airy atrium. The cast-iron endplates retrieved from the old stacks would be affixed to the new shelves. The circulating library will face the back of the building, where a façade of vertical stone piers turns with startlingly modern austerity towards Bryant Park. In the new atrium, those existing piers are visible from inside, too, linking old exuberance and new sleekness."

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