New York Public Library stacks escape demolition

August 28, 2013 04:17PM

A plan to demolish the book stacks at the New York Public Library’s Historic Fifth Avenue location has been scrapped.

Responding to a public outcry over the plan to get rid of the century-old stacks, the library told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that it will unveil a new design this fall that preserves a portion of them.

Scholars and preservationists, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, previously sued the library over alternatives it considered to a $300 million renovation plan.

The library still plans to build a new circulating library as part of renovations, but the new design aims to incorporate the stacks as “a prominent feature,” Anthony Marx, New York Public Library president, told the Journal. The new design will enable visitors to “see and experience” the stacks as they were originally conceived by the building’s architects, Carrère and Hastings.

The 53-foot stacks, which currently serve as structural support for the Rose Main Reading Room, post an engineering challenge in their readjustment.

Because the project received state money and the building is landmarked, the State Historic Preservation Office is reviewing the plan. The city will also conduct an environmental review.

The design is not yet complete, and the library is working to calculate the total cost. [WSJ]Julie Strickland