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Architectural Raves for NY’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library

December 24, 2021

The new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library that was fit into what was left of a 1915 department store that had been converted into a circulating library in the mid-20th Century not only saved its use but the redesign continues to win plaudits.

The latest was from Michael J. Lewis in the Wall Street Journal who praised the work of architects Francine Houben of Mecanoo and Elizabeth Leber of Beyer Blinder Belle, for revitalizing the old structure, calling the new work “uncommonly sensitive to the sensory experience of its users.”

He said they “managed to create stairwells that are actually pleasant spaces, where cheerful vertical light fixtures enliven what would otherwise be dark corners.

“Responsible library architects think acoustically, and separate noisy spaces from the quiet ones for reading, but Ms. Houben and Ms. Leber have gone a step further to think tactilely, and at the children’s level they modified their travertine walls to use a nonporous variant of the stone … a friendly accommodation to dirty little hands.”

Everything was pleasing and he noted, “it is even a pleasure to sit down” on Thomas Moser white oak seats.


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