Posts tagged with "New York Public Library":

NYC library cardholders can now visit dozens of museums for free

This summer, New York City is launching a new program to explore the city and save money. If you are a Brooklyn, New York, or Queens Public Library Cardholder aged 13 or older, you can reserve a Culture Pass to gain free access to more than 30 cultural institutions, including “museums, historical societies, heritage centers, public gardens and more.” Reservations should be made ahead of time, and a limited number of passes are available on each date. Here is a list of participating organizations: Brooklyn: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, New York Transit Museum Manhattan: Children’s Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, The Drawing Center, The Frick Collection, Historic Richmond Town, International Center of Photography, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Chinese in America, Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Museum of Modern Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Society of Illustrators, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, Whitney Museum of American Art Bronx: Wave Hill Queens: Louis Armstrong House, Noguchi Museum, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, SculptureCenter Staten Island: Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art Check out this link for more details.

New York Public Library gets new master plan by Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle

Here's what the main branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL) could look like after renovations by Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle. At last night's Board of Trustees meeting, NYPL revealed a master plan by the two firms for the lion-flanked Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Under the $317 million plan, there will be 20 percent more public space in the building, much of it derived from repurposed staff and back-of-house space. Among the changes, storage and former staff rooms will be converted into research, exhibition, and education rooms, including a new Center for Research and Learning, a space for high school and college students to learn how to use the research library. Outside, an entrance on 40th Street and new elevators will welcome visiting groups, while new elevators near 40th Street will replace back-of-house rooms. A cafe will replace a map storage area that is now closed to the public. “We have developed a master plan that inherently adheres to the logic of a Beaux-Arts building,” said Mecanoo Founding Partner Francine Houben, in prepared remarks. “Our changes are both subtle and clever—to direct the flow for different user groups, for example, or to improve the quality and function of currently underused spaces.” The building will be adapted around its historic interiors, including the landmarked Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, as well as Astor Hall, and the Maps, Periodicals, and Genealogy reading rooms, which are un-landmarked. In some corners of the city, the re-location of the seven floors of stacks is the most controversial aspect of the plan. The master plan doesn't include a definitive plan for the 175,000-square-feet subterranean rooms, but Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle will conduct a study to explore possibilities for the space, with public input. The NYPL says the stacks, which are filled with circulating books while the Mid-Manhattan Library is being renovated, don't meet present-day standards for housing delicate research material. "The stacks should be used for their original purpose, which is to hold books," said Charles Warren, president of advocacy group Committee to Save the New York Public Library. Warren, who attended last night's trustees meeting, said the stacks are crucial to library researchers. Fragile research materials are held in climate- and light-controlled storage under Bryant Park, and books in the stacks can make it to the Reading Room in less than 30 minutes, while books off-site take at least one business day to reach the library. A library spokesperson confirmed that the timing won't change post renovation. "I'm a little troubled [the NYPL] has thrown the door back open to other crazy, expensive options to re-use the stacks," he said. "The plans are unacceptably vague, but at least they're exploring the question with an open mind." The public will get to hear about the master plan next week, on November 20 at 5 p.m. in the Schwarzman Building’s Celeste Auditorium. Instead of stamp-ready plans, the plan is a roadmap for the design, which is still in development. Back in 2015, the NYPL Board of Trustees unanimously selected Dutch firm Mecanoo and New York's Beyer Blinder Belle to renovate the Schwarzman Building as well as the Mid-Manhattan Library across Fifth Avenue. Work has already begun on the latter building, which will reopen as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library in early 2020, while renovations to the Schwarzman Building will wrap in 2021. This story has been updated with clarifying information about the stacks.

The NYPL’s two grandest rooms are now New York City landmarks

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) added two stunning rooms in the main branch library to its roster of interior landmarks.

The New York Public Library’s (NYPL) main branch in Midtown Manhattan is a definitive New York building. The structure, built on the site of a former reservoir, commands a block-wide slice of 42nd Street between 5th and 6th avenues. Architects Carrère & Hastings spared no detail, especially on the inside, where a happy Beaux Arts explosion of arched windows, rosettes, ceiling murals, skylights, and brass chandeliers have sheltered writers and learners since 1911. It’s officially known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and its grand interior is mostly unprotected.

One of the best-known rooms, the Rose Main Reading Room, was designated today, as well as the Bill Blass Catalogue Room. These spaces will join the main entrance and primary public spaces that lead up to the main rooms as interior landmarks. (The building's exterior was protected 50 years ago.)

The designation comes in the middle of a renovations spell at the library. With architects at the Dutch firm Mechanoo, the NYPL has just started work on the Mid-Manhattan Library, an adjacent branch, while renovations on the Schwarzman Building by the same architect have yet to be announced. The Schwarzman Building's main room and catalogue room, both on the third floor, re-opened to the public last year after extensive revamps that brought a dead-on replica of the original sky mural to the catalogue room.

The LPC convened in July to discuss those two rooms, but held off on a vote at that meeting. Although seven parties spoke in support of the designation last time, there was no public testimony at today’s meeting.

In a unanimous vote, commissioners affirmed the importance of library's signature rooms—and not just for the architecture. “The details, the ornament, the ceiling paintings, all of that is so remarkable,” said Commissioner Adi Shamir-Baron. In her estimation, the two blocks of interior space create a “rare condition” that makes the two rooms an "extraordinary and singular civic space and reminds us what civic space actually is, which is a place and ethic that honors and elevates the spirit of the individual and the collective.”

For one volunteer advocacy group, however, the designation doesn't go deep enough. The Committee to Save the New York Public Library (Save NYPL) wants the commission to consider 11 other rooms—essentially the whole building—for landmarking, and has submitted a petition with 2,000 signatures to the LPC for consideration.

Save NYPL, the same group that campaigned against the library's proposed Norman Foster renovation, cited how Carrère & Hastings knitted the rooms together via decorative motifs. In his testimony, Save NYPL President Charles Warren claimed that “[a] piecemeal approach to interior designation does not adequately respect this design and leaves some of New York’s most sublime manifestations of Beaux-Arts interiors unprotected.”

As precedent, he pointed out that the interiors of McKim Mead & White’s Boston Public Library are completely landmarked. 

In a phone call with The Architect's Newspaper (AN), Warren noted the effort all stakeholders took to get to today's vote, and he confirmed that Save NYPL will re-submit a Request for Evaluation to the LPC for the other rooms in the hopes they will be considered (calendared) and designated. He praised today's vote but explained his group's decision on the grounds that only full landmarking can protect the building. "The library claims it is a great steward," Warren said, "but they've carried out some changes that are questionable" like installing track lighting in the carved wood ceiling of the Gottesman Exhibition Hall, and removing the perimeter skylights in the Celeste Bartos Forum. Though the monumental exterior is recognizable to most New Yorkers and beyond, the building's all in the details. Save NYPL's vice president, preservation activist Theodore Grunewald, asked the LPC to preserve the reading room's pneumatic tubes, among other less-than-obvious—but still significant—features. In a prepared statement, NYPL President Tony Marx evaluated the LPC's decision. "The New York Public Library applauds today's vote to officially designate the Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room as New York City interior landmarks. For over a century, we have been proud, dedicated stewards of these architectural and civic treasures, and will continue to preserve and protect them with the respect and care that they require and deserve. We thank the Landmarks Preservation Commission for partnering with us in our mission to ensure that these beautiful, unique rooms inspire visitors now and for generations to come."

How three choreographers impacted the art world, public space, feminism, and more

While the creative cross-pollination between Lawrence and Anna Halprin has been in the limelight in recent years, the Radical Bodies exhibition (at the New York Public Library Performing Arts branch) and catalog places much deserved attention on Anna Halprin’s impact as choreographer, performer, radical teacher and activist, as well as that of ‘two' of her students—Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer. The Radical Bodies story anchors around their encounter on Halprin’s dance deck in 1960 and presents a bi-coastal tale of three women choreographers whose radical visions of bodies impacted and entangled with the art world, political activism, and the cultural shifts between the Cold War and Vietnam War, civil rights and feminist movements. The exhibition presents photographs, videos, and documentaries, and original scores and drawings by Halprin, Forti, and Rainer. Each of the co-curators—Ninotchka D. Bennahum and Bruce Robertson (both of UC Santa Barbara) and Wendy Perron (formerly with Dance Magazine)—has contributed an essay to the catalog. Bennahum’s essay foregrounds Halprin’s commitment to an “ethic of repair.” Perron discusses the non-dualistic, post-human, and playful currents throughout Simone Forti’s work. Robertson addresses Yvonne Rainer’s relation to minimalism and “play with objects and bodies.” In their introduction, Bennahum and Roberson point out further links between Halprin, Forti, and Rainer: their diasporic experiences translated into activism; their challenging modernist dance doctrine; abandoning narrative and exploring improvisation; acknowledging different identities, bodies and species of movers. Each relocated dance from the theater to alternative spaces and challenged boundaries between dance, performance, sculpture, time-based media, and activism, feminist critique, and political protest. The exhibition draws our attention to the importance of the dance deck, the relation Forti and Rainer, in particular, had to “the downtown NY scene in the 1960s,” their “actions in public spaces.” The dance deck, designed by Lawrence Halprin with Arch Lauterer, is sited in the forest steps away from the Halprin residence. While mimicking proscenium stage proportions, the deck presented a radically different working environment, enveloping movers in the sounds of wildlife and no mirrored walls. Workshops here cultivated a literal getting in touch with an “organic” understanding of bodies in continuity with the environment. After Rainer’s experience improvising in the wild on Halprin’s dance deck, she, not surprisingly, sought out an alternative environment in which to practice and more regularly and informally present work. The flat floor and non-hierarchical space of the Judson Church gym became the “deck” of the east coast where the downtown community saw and participated in experimental performances. Photographs in the exhibition make evident overlaps within the 60s downtown community between choreographers, visual artists, and composers; between west and east coast; and between those affiliated with pop, fluxus, minimal, and conceptual art. In addition to Rainer sipping drinks with Andy Warhol, we see visual artists Carolee Schneemann, Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Morris as participants and authors of hybrid visual art-dance works. Forti’s Slant Board (1961) materializes the hybridizations of minimal sculpture and task-oriented choreography (and has been reconstructed in the exhibition where you are invited to performed it). Such minimalist sculptural objects and readymades also emerged in Rainer’s work, such as Room Service (1965). Video footage of her Continuous Project-Altered Daily (1970) shows a playful collision between human and material objects, and slow relinquishing of authorship, indexing a cultural shift towards participatory and ‘open’ works. One artifact in particular—a listing similar to Richard Serra’s List of Verbs (1967-68)—caught my eye: Rainer’s List of Actions, Score for WAR (1970). It reads: … Infiltrate                                                                         escalate unite        (converge)                                                   sweep subvert                                                                           pursue liberate                                                                           remove capture                                                                           swell… Slippages between scores, instructions, poetry, sculpture, and choreography appear throughout the show, linking these three artists to their cultural moment. The exhibition and catalog also highlight actions in public spaces linking their work to urbanism and political activism. Halprin’s Blank Placard Dance (1967), in which a procession through city streets by performers carrying blank protest signs, was an important step towards civic engagement performances central to Halprin’s current work. Rainer’s Trio A With Flags (video), Street Action, and WAR (all from 1970) responded to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and to arrests for desecrating the flag. These works nod and wink to Emma Goldman’s statement: “(i)f I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Performances from Halprin, Forti, and Rainer initiated both the west coast and east coast exhibitions. Forti’s improvisation was full of witty allusions comparing species of fish to the behavior of politicians. At the UC Santa Barbara Rainer performed Concept of Dust (2017), literally a “Continuous Project/Altered Annually,” layering older choreographed fragments with her deadpan reading of recent news. These prepared audiences for the climax—Halprin’s Paper Dance from Parades and Changes (1966-7). The New York performance was particularly eventful given that its last New York appearance in 1967 led to her being issued an arrest warrant for public indecency. The slow undressing and re-dressing of the dancers, while far from shocking today, remains both an exquisite and politically poignant work. New York’s Jody Arnhold can be credited for bringing Halprin’s “radical bodies back to the scene of the crime.” Along with Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer, she was radical, rebellious, visionary, and pro-actively dismantling hierarchies. They modeled engaged citizenship as a participatory choreography in public space, and there is no better time than the present to be reminded to get off our asses and dance, dance, dance. Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955 - 1972 is on view at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center through September 16, 2017.

New app transports you through NYC’s historic cityscape with archival photos

Finally, a digital archive of historic New York City photos that geolocates to your smartphone! This new app mines the digital collections of three NYC cultural institutions, placing the images onto an interactive map of the city. Working with Brooklyn Historical Society, the New York Public Library, and the Museum of the City of New York, Urban Archive has made accessible over 2,500 images from all five boroughs (sorry New Jersey). The newly formed nonprofit's ambition is to create apertures into the city’s urban history in a multi-dimensional digital platform that both informs and entertains the public.  This democratization of images has the potential to allow communities to articulate untold urban histories in a new forum of public engagement. The app has a sophisticated interface that, among other features, sends push notifications when you walk pass a historic building, giving new agency to urban explorers and history enthusiasts. The app also has curated walking tours of certain neighborhoods and a popular side-by-side photo generator that produces images you can share on social media. To "check-in," you need to be within 150 feet of the chosen location. "Certain check-ins may unlock achievements within the app, so no short cuts are allowed!" Urban Archive says on their website. While the available database is still in beta testing, Urban Archive continues to sort and geotag some 50,000 additional images, encouraging other institutions to share their collections. The Urban Archive iOS app requires an iPhone running iOS 10 or later. No iPad or Android versions are available yet.

Travel through space-time with the NYPL’s new map tool

The past few months have been a blessing to New York City map lovers: Cartography fiends can browse future skyscrapers, prepare for L-mageddon, and discover the city's noisiest neighborhoods or hidden civil rights histories. Now, the New York Public Library (NYPL) has unveiled what could be—for history nerds, at least—the mother of all maps: The NYC Space/Time Directory, a “digital time-travel service" that combines the library's map collection with geospatial tools to illuminate the city's messy and beautiful development over more than a century. The project's first map takes 5,000 street maps from across the city and folds them into one interactive database that spans a century, from 1850–1950. Maps by Decade aggregates maps from the NYPL collection, an improvement on the library's previous georectification tool, the Map Warper. The NYC Space/Time Directory, which includes more than 8,000 maps and 40,000 geo-referenced photos and counting, is supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation. Ready to time travel? A click on The Architect's Newspaper's home neighborhood of Tribeca shows six maps from 165 years ago. The user can transpose a ward map from 1852 onto present-day streets, or view the same map in the NYPL's digital collections, or take the map for a spin in the Map Warper, below: Better yet, the project is all open source. Users can access each map's geospatial data, and the source code for Maps by Decade is on GitHub. For those who wish to collaborate on more mapping projects, Hyperallergic reports that NYPL’s Space/Time Directory Engineer Bert Spaan is organizing IRL meetups around the city to make more maps using the library's resources.

Inwood has questions as city quickly prepares to develop new library with affordable housing

"This entire process feels like window dressing for decisions already taken." So read a guerilla message plastered on design boards at a recent library visioning session in Inwood, a neighborhood at Manhattan's northern tip. The city announced last month that it will sell the Inwood branch library, on busy Broadway, to a developer who will build all-affordable housing and a new library on-site. The New York Public Library (NYPL) said that after the demolition, the rebuilt Inwood branch would be the same size and provide the same services. The Robin Hood Foundation, an antipoverty nonprofit, is putting $5 million towards the project to match the city's contribution. Although the housing would be privately developed, the city would maintain ownership over the library. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) expects construction on the new building to begin in 2019. To prepare for changes, HPD has organized three visioning sessions about the library's future. The first was held last Wednesday night, and attracted about 60 people: HPD planner Felipe Cortes noted that the crowd was mostly older and whiter, an observation reflected in the number of stickers on the respective English and Spanish-language design and programming visioning boards. Residents were asked to express their preference for a new building at 115, 145, and 175 feet in height with 90, 110, and 135 units, respectively. Not included: an option to preserve the building, which dates to 1952. At the session, some residents felt the project was moving ahead too fast, and that public input would not substantially impact the city's plans; similar concerns were voiced earlier this month at a Manhattan Community Board 12 meeting, DNAinfo reported. "Bill de Blasio is too eager to cave to developers," said resident Sally Fisher. "It's like the city put a 'For Sale' on Inwood." She wondered where teenagers and children will congregate once demolition is underway. The impending sale follows two others that the city has authorized in Brooklyn Heights and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, both of which have sparked community outcry. (Brooklyn Public Library is a separate system from the NYPL, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island.)  For the Inwood deal, it's not yet clear who will own the deed—HPD says those details have yet to be determined. The library, one of the most-used in the system, is in dire need of repairs and upgrades. Pointing to a water-damaged drop ceiling, library manager Denita Nichols said that the building is showing signs of wear and tear, and the full renovation 16 years ago has not kept pace with changing technology or current community needs. Nichols said library, which is one of the few open seven days a week, has to accommodate quiet study spaces and more social spaces. "I would love to see a flex space with a culture center—that would really be great to me if it happened," she said. NYPL will continue to do community outreach around the project before any design decisions are made.

Building of the Day: New York Public 53rd Street Library branch

This is the twelfth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! This afternoon, Andrea Steele, principal of TEN Arquitectos, led the thirteenth Archtober Building of the Day tour, an informative visit to the New York Public 53rd Street Library branch. Designed by her firm and completed in June, the new facility opposite the Museum of Modern Art occupies the site of the former Donnell Library Center, which it shares with the new 50-story Baccarat Hotel & Residences designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. While the location is excellent, the space presented many challenges. The library occupies three levels, one at street level and two below grade, with only fifty feet of street frontage. The majority of the library lies below the new tower and, as a result, it had to be planned around a massive sheer wall and a large elevator core. In certain locations the floor slabs are sloped, penetrated and pulled back, thereby creating multi-story spaces and openings to introduce natural light to the lower levels and diminish the perception of being subterranean. Architect and client sought to make the library as open and inviting to the public as possible and to encourage dialogue with the city. Public engagement was one of the main objectives of the design and remains an important goal of the library’s programming, which has already included after-hours concerts, opera performances, and presidential debate screenings. To draw people in, the building’s facade is extremely open and transparent, offering views to the stepped Main Hall, a multi-use space that connects the street level with the Central level below. Responsible for interior design as well as architecture, TEN Arquitectos have created a lively and engaging space. Materials such as exposed architectural concrete, corrugated perforated metal, wood floors, felt, and ceilings of metal grating were selected to express, in Steele’s words, “the tectonics of the city.” Sleek contemporary furnishings recall designs of Prouve and Aalto. Bold environmental graphics were provided by 2x4, who also created a playful mural in the children’s area referencing New York landmarks. About the author: John Shreve Arbuckle, Assoc. AIA guides the AIANY Around Manhattan Architecture boat tours, and organizes and guides tours through Arbuckle Architecture Tours, LLC. He is the President of DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State, a local chapter of an international organization devoted to documenting and preserving Modern architecture.

Construction on NYPL’s Rose Main Reading Room is complete, ahead of schedule

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has announced that the Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room will reopen to the public in October after a head-to-toe renovation. The 1911 rooms on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (main library) on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street were closed to the public for a two-year, $12 million renovations that recreated the 27-by-33-foot James Wall Finn mural on the ceiling of the public catalogue room; restored the Rose Room's chandeliers; replicated the fallen rosette that started it all; and reinforced its 900 siblings in the two rooms. The rooms reopen to the public on October 5; visit that week to see an accompanying exhibition that is on view through October 9. Under the direction of its project manager, AECOM's Tishman Construction Corporation, renovations were completed a few months ahead of schedule. “The Library has eagerly anticipated the reopening of these glorious rooms, architectural gems which for over 100 years have been home to scholars, writers, students, and all members of the public who want to access our renowned research collections, learn, and create,” NYPL president Tony Marx said in a statement. “As great stewards of all of our libraries, we are proud of this important project, which ensures that these spectacular spaces remain as inspiring as they were on they day they opened.” This project was completed almost concurrently with Gensler and Tishman Construction's collections storage project in the same building, two levels below ground. The storage and conveyance system can accommodate 4.3 million research volumes; the library will transfer materials to its new bunker through early 2017.

A new exhibit explores the construction and preservation of the New York Public Library main branch building

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has opened a new exhibition, Preserving A Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage, that documents the history of the 105-year-old Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Carrying significant historical pedigree, the building currently has three rooms that have been granted NYCLandmark protection: Astor Hall, the main stairway and the McGraw Rotunda. Running through September 18, the exhibition will focus on the ongoing restoration of the Rose Main Reading Room.

Preserving A Masterpiece will be located on the third floor of the Schwarzman Building and boast more than 75 photos, most of which have never been revealed in public. The images—which go all the way back to 1902—will shed light on the building's past as well as current preservation efforts. The structure makes use 530,00 cubic feet of marble and the massive scale of its structure is on full display in early images.

Behind the scenes photography will explore the two-year restoration of the ceilings in the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room and Rose Main Reading Room, as well as the 50 foot scaffolding that was used to carry out the work. Further images will show the construction of a second level of collection storage underneath Bryant Park and the new 55,700-square-foot level of the Milstein Research Stacks, which is due to bring the library's capacity to approximately 4.3 million volumes.

In addition to this, two ornate plaster rosettes from the Rose Main Reading Room ceiling will be on display. Interestingly, when one was pulled down during an inspection to test the ceiling's strength, more than 430 pounds of weight was required, proving that the ceiling has maintained its structural strength during its 100-year lifetime. 

“The Library is proud to be a dedicated, great steward of all of its buildings, including and especially the iconic and historic 42nd Street Library and its beloved reading rooms,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “Looking at photographs of this building from its beginnings to its current state is a powerful reminder of what makes it so special, so extraordinary, and so important.”  

In bold preservation move, the New York Public Library commissions replica of mural in its Catalogue Room

As part of the ongoing renovation of its main branch building on Fifth Avenue, the New York Public Library (NYPL) has commissioned a replica of the mural on the ceiling of the Catalogue Room. The 27-by-33-foot mural, by artist James Wall Finn (muralist to the Gilded Age Elites), depicts a sky of billowing cumulous clouds warmed by rosy light. During the 2014 structural integrity inspection prompted by a fallen rosette, engineers hoisted platforms close to the 52-foot-tall ceilings of the Bill Blass Catalog Room and the Rose Main Reading Room. While the engineers determined that the ceilings needed minor reinforcements, a fine arts conservator determined last year that the original 105-year-old mural in the Catalogue Room needed intensive repair: sloppy patch jobs, discoloration, and loss of original paint had severely damaged the piece. (The mural in the Rose Main Reading Room was restored fully in 1998.) The NYPL commissioned New York–based EverGreene Architectural Arts to recreate the mural on two massive pieces of canvas. “The Catalog Room sky mural holds its own as a singular mural but also connects with the three murals in the Rose Reading Room, opening up the ceilings with space and light,” Bill Mensching, Director of Murals at EverGreene Architectural Arts, explained. “Our goal as artists was to honor Finn’s concept, and complete the series of murals that are timeless in their clarity, movement and gradations of color." EverGreene has restored, conserved, or recreated artwork and decorative ornament on The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, United Nations Building, Manhattan Supreme Court, and other historic New York City structures. In all, these replicas will cost around $45,000. Both the Reading Room and the Catalogue Room are expected to reopen this fall, and the canvases will be placed over the Finn's mural in the next few months. Check out the time-lapse video below that shows the mural recreation from start to finish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOX2iqhZBKY&feature=youtu.be

Mecanoo Announced As Winner of New York Public Library Redesign [Updated]

The New York Public Library's Board of Trustees unanimously selected the Dutch firm Mecanoo to lead the renovation of the NYPL's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (the main branch at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street), as well as the Mid-Manhattan Library at 455 5th Avenue. Mecanoo's creative director and founding parter Francine Houben will lead the design team. New York's Beyer Blinder Belle will be the architect of record. Construction begins in late 2017 and is expected to run through 2019. After the Board of Trustees nixed Norman Foster's renovation scheme, the board invited 24 firms to submit proposals for the redesign in February 2013. 21 proposals were received, and the pool of contenders was winnowed down to eight, four and then two over four months, from June to September, 2015. Mecanoo was announced at the September 16th meeting of the NYPL's Board of Trustees. Mecanoo's plan for the main branch will include 42 percent more space for scholarly research and exhibitions. The Mid-Manhattan Library will receive a complete interior renovation to accommodate classrooms, a circulating library, and a business library.