ARCHITECTURE: The “New” New York Public Library

A renovation plan for one of the world’s most iconic buildings and Beaux-Arts masterpiece has been unveiled and the rest of the world has to watch.

Text: Mary Giatra

The renowned firm Foster + Partners of the celebrated architect Norman Foster, has revealed the $300 million dollar proposal and promises to preserve the building’s legacy while transforming seven floors of stacks, currently occupying the back of the building, into an aesthetically, technologically and environmentally advanced space fit for the 21st century.


In a time when the internet and advanced technology are a threat to the future of libraries, the New York Public Library plans to become the greatest library in the world. The building has to change in order to become more inviting and increase the number of its visitors.

The circulation inside the Neo-Classical building, designed by Carrère and Hastings, is going to be changed. Visitors will be able to walk in a straight line through the grand Fifth Avenue portico and the Astor Hall into Gottesman Hall. The line will host some of the most important pieces from the Library’s collection, make the space inside the building more luminous and will restore add symmetry to the building.


After entering the building, the visitors will meet a balcony and face elevated views of the famous Bryant Park. A four-level, naturally lit atrium with public sitting areas, bookshelves and desks will be constructed revealing internally the beautiful original windows of the Library’s facade.

 Covering a vast area of almost 10.000 square meters, the new library will be the largest indoor public space in New York City. Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer and to be completed after four long years.


In case you haven’t visited the legendary building yet, hurry up! It’s new face will definitely surprise you…

Photos courtesy of Foster + Partners