Norman Foster's designs for a soaring glass atrium in the New York Public Library are now a thing of the past. The library came under fire from scholars and preservationists for the design?which called for shipping research books to Jersey, dismantling the library's historic stacks, and replacing them with a vast, airy gathering space?and now the Journal reports that plans have changed. NYPL president Anthony Marx told the paper that reading rooms, not atriums, would be emphasized, and the stacks will be a "prominent feature" that holds the circulating books. They will be "configured in a way that allows patrons to 'see and experience' what the stacks were like as originally conceived by the building's architects, Carrère and Hastings."
The library still plans to construct a new 80,000-square-foot circulating library under the Rose Main Reading Room, but keeping the stacks, which support the room, complicates the task. The new design is not yet finalized, and library officials are not sure how much it would change the previously reported $300 million price tag. State and city officials are reviewing the plans, which consider adding preservation technologies like temperature and humidity control. But Marx said one thing is certain: a section of the stacks, which date to 1911, will be open to the public for the first time.
· New York Public Library Rethinks Design [WSJ]
· All New York Public Library coverage [Curbed]