NYPL on 53rd

John Hill
27. June 2016
The amphitheater with the laptop bar cut into the corrugated wall panels (All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects)

World-Architects stopped by the New York Public Library's new 53rd Street Library this morning for its opening. Designed by Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos, the library is highlighted by an amphitheater visible from the street.

I'm typing this while seated on a Vitra Zeb Stool at the library's "laptop bar" overlooking the amphitheater, what promises to be a very popular spot. The NYPL CEO, Anthony Marx, is downstairs cutting the ribbon and welcoming patrons into the brand new space. It is the start of a full day of programs celebrating the opening of the system's 89th library.

Located at the base of the Baccarat Hotel & Residences, and across the street from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the library is a hidden gem, most of it found primarily below-grade. Yet with the tall amphitheater space illuminated by the clear-glass storefront, the library is anything but claustrophobic.

Below are some of my photos from a quick walk through the library this morning. Yet to best appreciate the tight fit of TEN Arquitectos/Enrique Norten's design, which had to contend with the core of the above hotel/residential tower, be sure to look closely at the building section. The new NYPL branch library is located at 18 West 53rd Street.

Building section of the three-story library that is primarily below-grade (Drawing: TEN Arquitectos)
The amphitheater seen through the glass wall of the vestibule
The amphitheater looking toward the storefront
The underside of the amphitheater is devoted to a children's library
The mezzanine overlooking the children's library
The library has various kinds of seating spaces throughout.
A community meeting room with orange felt walls seats 120 people.

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