On December 10, 2015, NYPL held a public meeting to introduce the architects of the upcoming Mid-Manhattan and 42nd Street Library renovations.
Francine Houben, founder of Mecanoo, and Liz Leber, partner of Beyer Blinder Belle, gave a brief presentation about their backgrounds and their previous library projects.
NYPL Chief Operating Officer Iris Weinshall presented an overview of the project. There will be a comprehensive gut renovation of the Mid-Manhattan building; construction will start in 2017 and the building will reopen in 2019. She stated that there are currently about 300,000 books in Mid-Manhattan, and these will be moved into the now-empty stacks in the 42nd Street building while the Mid-Manhattan is being renovated. (Note that the RFQ, linked below, states on page 10 that in addition to the 300,000 books held on site at the Mid-Manhattan Library, another 100,000 books from the library are generally circulating at any given time, for a total collection of 400,000 books.) One or more of the newly opened rooms in the 42nd Street building will be turned into a temporary circulating library until the Mid-Manhattan re-opens. We’ve been told that the cost of the Mid-Manhattan renovation will be about $150 million.
At the 42nd Street building, approximately 70,000 square feet of space currently closed to the public will be opened up. NYPL stated that the total cost of renovations to the 42nd Street building will be about $90 million: this includes the cost of new mechanical equipment, such as new or additional elevators, new bathrooms, and possibly a new additional entrance.
In response to a question from the audience, Iris Weinshall promised that NYPL would release the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and Request for Proposals (RFP) which were sent to the architectural firms invited to apply for the project. The RFQ and RFP define the scope of the project and would give some sense of NYPL’s goals. NYPL has now posted the two documents to their website: the RFQ can be found here, and the RFP can be found here. These documents contain much useful information, and are well worth a look.
NYPL said that the next public meeting on the renovation project would be held this Spring.
An audio recording of the December 10th meeting can be heard here.
Waiting for the meeting to start:
NYPL Chief Operating Officer Iris Weinshall:
The architects take questions: