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Foster's $250 million NY library scheme resurrected

Foster + Partners’ competition-winning scheme to overhaul New York’s Central Library has been given the green light, nearly three and a half years after the practice landed the job

Earlier this week the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) board of trustees authorised the ‘start of the schematic design process’, allowing Foster + Partners to begin its work in earnest on the overhaul of the Beaux Arts-fronted Stephen A Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street

The $250 million scheme, which the practice won in October 2008, is part of a wider £1 billion programme to ‘reimagine libraries’ throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island.

According to The New York Times, the plans stalled because of the economic downturn and changes in library leadership. To help fund the Foster project two libraries will be sold off; the Mid-Manhattan branch and the Science, Industry and Business Library.

The trustees want the existing 1911 building by John Carrère and Thomas Hastings, to become the US’s ‘largest combined circulating and research library’. Public space and workspce for scholars and researchers will be doubled.

Norman Foster told the AJ: This is very good news, we greatly look forward to continuing the project and the creative dialogue that we have enjoyed with the library since the competition in 2008, shaping this distinguished institution for future generations’

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