December 20, 2012
Yesterday, the press huddled in the Trustee’s Room of the New York Public Library—the “one with the lions”—to hear Norman Foster speak about Foster+Partners’ latest designs for the $300-million renovation and expansion, so to speak, of the storied Beaux Arts building. Foster’s design would move the circulation library, the “frumpy”wing located just across 5th Avenue, into the main building’s west hall, where the original cast-iron book stacks now stand; the stacks would stay, if rearranged, while the books themselves would be moved underground just beneath the Bryant Park lawn out back. With the help of a lucid PowerPoint presentation. the architect demonstrated just how seamlessly this swap would be, indicating how the 100-year-old structure most-precious spaces, like the Rose Main Reading Room, would be left undisturbed throughout construction. In the process, the building’s public spaces would be more than doubled, adding a “Writer’s Room” and restoring the children’s and teen’s library. The main addition would consist of a 300-person workspace with a large atrium facing the inside of the western facade, the first time it will have been seen in its entirety.
The presentation unfolded without hiccup. But, the question and answer round that followed was somewhat more eventful. Continue.