DESIGN PORN: New York Public Library is being Reimagined By Lord Norman Foster.

Longue vie à la bibliothèque.

The New York Public Library is far from a dying institution. The branch located adjacent to Bryant Park at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street is an architectural monument, tourist attraction, wedding location, and of course, research and reading environment.

So, we were thrilled that New York chose to allocate $300 million to renovate the landmark main branch, and that they had chosen the famous Lord Norman Foster to be in charge of reimaging some of its space.

And from the looks of things, it's also a pretty radical change which reminds us a lot of the public space created for New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which open a few years ago. Some are critics, with The Times UK saying it reminds them of a Starbucks, and Vanity Fair saying a Branes & Noble comes to mind when looking at the renderings. The Times says "Foster has essentially created a major new contemporary library within Carrère & Hastings's neo-Classical one."  Foster is taking —"majestic old rooms that have gone dormant for decades" and converting them into a public work spaces, creating a new children's room, teen center, and below-ground education spaces.

Curbed NY is reporting that Foster is removing seven floors of stacks at the back of the library to open the building's central axis from the Fifth Avenue side to the Bryant Park side. The space currently occupied by the stacks will be replaced with a four-story atrium lined with bookshelves and seating areas, and floor-to-ceiling windows would look out over Bryant Park.

Work is expected to start in the summer of 2013, and be completed by 2018.

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