In an article slamming the expansion plans of the Museum of Modern Art (another real-estate crazed NYC cultural institution), NY Times’ architecture critic Michael Kimmelman also calls out NYPL on the Donnell Library fiasco.
The Donnell Library appears to be a model for how the NYPL plans to “transform” libraries (including the Mid-Manhattan), selling off the real-estate and shrinking them into much smaller spaces designed for socializing rather than learning.
Across West 53rd Street from MoMA, the Donnell Library Center, a long-shuttered branch of the New York Public Library, is scheduled to reopen late next year at the same spot but in the bowels of a new luxury hotel, at a third of its former size, with wide bleacher seating and steps as the main feature.
“More like a cultural space, which is about gathering people, giving people the opportunity to encounter each other,” is how the library’s architect, Enrique Norten, describes the plan.
It’s all the same flimflam: flexible spaces to accommodate to-be-named programming, the logic of real estate developers hiding behind the magical thinking of those who claim cultural foresight. It almost never works.
Read the complete article here.