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NY Public Library Responds to Architecture Critics’ Letter Regarding Norman Foster’s Design


Anthony Marx, president and CEO, NY Public Library

The NY Public Library today issued a statement in response to the letter by 20 architecture critics who called on the library’s board to reconsider the planned renovation designed by Norman Foster.

This hit my inbox earlier this evening, sent to me by Ken Weine, who last week assumed his post as the NY Public Library’s vice president for communications and marketing (and is now experiencing trial by fire):

All large public projects get stronger as they receive feedback—which has certainly been the case for this plan, which will unite the nation’s busiest circulating library with its most treasured research library.

Over the past five years we have had a wide variety of public discussions on the library renovation—including with a range of architecture and preservation groups and most recently preceding the votes of New York City Community Board 5 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, both of which approved the plan. Our conversations will continue and we look forward to talking with this group and many others as our planning proceeds.”

In addition, Weine cordially encouraged me to discuss the plans with him in more detail.

Being forthcoming with information about the project and learning from the feedback of library users and architecture experts is certainly the right approach for this venerable public institution. Too bad that the late architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who had called for greater transparency by the Library in her final piece, didn’t receive the kind of treatment that is now being offered when she was researching her highly critical (and widely influential) appraisal.

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