Archtober Building of the Day #3
North Hall and Library, Bronx Community College
Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Alex Lamis, FAIA, and Dennis Sagiev met a windblown gaggle of enthusiasts on the educational plateau of the Bronx: the former University Heights campus of NYU. Now Bronx Community College, it is a repository of ambitious plans. The first was the Jeffersonian campus plan of 1892 by Stanford White with its iconic Gould Memorial Library (1900) framed by the venerable Hall of Fame (1912). Marcel Breuer made his Modernist marks on the hilltop in 1956 and on into the 1960s.
At North Hall it’s all about respect. The gang at Robert A. M. Stern Architects went straight to fitting in alongside the White masterpieces. The library itself is sturdily traditional in its up-to-the-minute technology hub – the information commons is awash with stand-up computer desks with scrolls.
“A pent-up need,” according to librarian Theresa McManus, resulted in a project that “sends a message to the students.”
There’s new building technology in the panel precast brick construction. And RAMSA designed an ironic postmodern histri-ionic column. Lamis explained that the fake rivets were part of the “artistic representation” of the structural steel.
Historically, Lamis noted, the library is a “center for the retention of culture in its place.”
Tomorrow’s excursion is to the Queens Botanic Garden.