After scrapping plans in May for an estimated $500 million overhaul led by Norman Foster, the New York Public Library has revealed details of its revised designs for its Mid-Manhattan branch and flagship location on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.
Initial plans for the main Stephen A. Schwarzman Building called for a new circulating library that required the removal of 100-year-old book stacks — a point of contention among historians and preservationists. Library officials told The New York Times that although the seven levels of stacks will be conserved, they will remain empty.
The revised design proposes the conversion of unoccupied rooms and offices into areas that include a new education corridor serving children and teens as well as teachers, spaces and services for entrepreneurs, and additional space for researchers and writers. In addition, exhibition space will double in size. Per the original design, the main branch will incorporate the Science, Industry, and Business Library. The project would take three to four years to complete.
Meanwhile, the Mid-Manhattan branch at Fifth Avenue at 40th Street — initially slated to be absorbed into the Schwarzman Building — instead will undergo a complete renovation estimated to last four to five years. Spaces will include a full-floor media/computer lab and an expansive adult education center. Officials hope to create “the sense of a campus” between the two locations.
The library, which has yet to select an architect for the revisions, anticipates an overall cost of $300 million to improve both buildings.