Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

New York, USA

Size: 23,226 m2
Status: Ongoing
Project Design: 2015 - 2018
Project Realisation: 2017 - 2023
Address: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, USA
Client: New York Public Library.

Design Team: Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners.

Programme: Interior renovation of public spaces, reading and study rooms, museum spaces, including the Gottesman Hall exhibition space, a new gallery for photo exhibitions, new renovated staff spaces and back of house logistic improvements, relocation of the NYPL gift shop and coffee bar, renovation of all public and staff restrooms.

Awards: 1st Prize Competition.

Photography: Mecanoo, Ossip Architectuurfotografie, Jonathan Blanc.

Admired for its outstanding Beaux-Arts design and considered one of the world’s greatest public libraries, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is a beloved New York City and registered US national landmark. Part of the Midtown Campus renovation together with the former Mid-Manhattan Library, The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building will provide more public library space than is currently available and enhanced access to collections, technology, and staff expertise.

The Design Team has studied the building’s original design, the arrangement of functions, and changes over time, to guide a design approach that respects and clarifies the original design intent, and sensitively integrates new uses and design elements. The main design concept is defined by the building’s rich history. As part of our vision for a strategic renovation, we rely on Beaux Arts principles of symmetry, balance, and clear lines to reinforce the building’s original layout and qualities. 

One of the main interventions, which will have a significant impact on the flow of people, is creating a new entrance at 40th Street for goods, groups, and staff. From there, collections and goods for events, exhibitions and kitchen, will be distributed throughout the building. The renovation will boost the spaces for exhibitions featuring a brand new Treasures Exhibition Space in Gottesman Hall with a connection to the new library shop in the South Court.

The project will also improve the public programmes and facilities for researchers and scholars in direct connection to the stacks and collections. The former Maps Division Collection storage space will become a public room, looking towards 5th Avenue from the North wing. The building will undergo work to increase public space throughout by transforming and reopening rooms that were originally designed as public areas but have long been used for staff or storage.

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