Mecanoo Designed New York Public Library Reopens in Manhattan
New York Public LibraryMecanoo

Mecanoo Designed New York Public Library Reopens in Manhattan

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library is New York’s new central circulating library, designed by Mecanoo in collaboration with Beyer Blinder Belle

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library is New York’s new central circulating library, designed by Mecanoo in collaboration with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners. The 16,722 square meters building was constructed between 1914 and 1915 as the department store Arnold Constable & Co. Architect T. Joseph Bartley designed the limestone-clad building with a granite base and neoclassical commercial expression. The New York Public Library took over the building in 1970 and occupied all floors by 1976.

One of the building's main features is the 'Long Room,' a five-level space for book browsing complete with a 13 meters high (42-foot high) atrium; two connected floors of classrooms, education and programming spaces; meeting rooms and consultation rooms.

Renovations also include the library's first dedicated section geared toward children and teenagers, at 2415 m2 (26,000 sq. ft.). Patrons could use programming spaces, podcasting studios, reading alcoves and a book sorter that uses a conveyor belt to reorganize materials after they're taken off the shelves. And at 1860 m2 (20,000 sq. ft.), the new Pasculano Learning Center is the library's first center for adult education.

The stand-out architectural feature is the 'Wizard's Hat,' a sculpted, painted and perforated metal structure that enshrouds the library's seventh floor.

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