Nieuwsuur, the current affairs programme on Dutch national television visited the New York Public Library with Francine Houben to talk about the new project and Mecanoo’s vision on libraries. The segment aired on 26 October 2015. Walking through the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Francine shares her passion for the project.
“I thought: I would love to do this one. Because I have been working on libraries for the past few years and because I know New York rather well. I’ve known the building since the 1970s when I first came here. I was very impressed I was allowed to walk around and to sit on these tables to study. There has been a lot of discussion about the project. It’s because if you touch the library, you touch the emotions of all New Yorkers. To do this well is an amazing challenge.”
While the design process for the NYPL Midtown Campus renovation now begins, Mecanoo is also working on the revitalisation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C.
“The great misconception is that a lot of people think that libraries are about books. Libraries are about people that want to have access to knowledge and life-long learning. You want to continue learning regardless of age. This is very important for the economy as well.”
Libraries are also expanding their services. The plans for the MLK Library feature spaces for 3D printing and recording studios. “Libraries are becoming activities: places where people can create and produce knowledge. This encourages visitors to keep developing.”
This program is broadcasted in Dutch.
Image copyright Jiahui Huang