NY Public Library taps Dutch firm to lead Midtown renovations

$300M project replaces scrapped Norman Foster plans

New York Public Library at 455 Fifth Avenue
New York Public Library at 455 Fifth Avenue

Having abandoned a contentious Norman Foster-designed renovation, the New York Public Library selected Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo to lead a $300 million renovation of its Midtown properties.

While the firm has yet to produce a design, plans call for opening more public space at the library’s flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, and creating a new interior for the Mid-Manhattan Library at 455 Fifth Avenue.

Mecanoo’s previous projects including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., and the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Boston. New York firm Beyer Blinder Belle, whose renovations include Grand Central Terminal, Ellis Island and City Hall, will be the architect of record, according to the New York Times.

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The New York Public Library shelved previous renovation plans for the Schwarzman Building last year. The Foster-designed project received criticism from scholars and preservationists, including several lawsuits leveled at the plans.

The library system recently expanded its Midtown presence with the acquisition of eight commercial condos for $34.5 million last year. [NYT]Rey Mashayekhi