New York City’s landmark Fifth Avenue public library announced plans for a $300 million renovation. Opened in 1854, the grand Beaux Art structure contains a much loved wood-paneled main reading room that will remain intact but will be fireproofed. The plan, nevertheless, has generated some criticism from some respected architecture experts such as Ada Louise Huxtable.
British architect Norman Foster's design will open up the back of the building that is now occupied by seven floors of stacks, creating a 100,000 sf contemporary space with books, reading areas, and desks. A four-story atrium will overlook Bryant Park and Sixth Avenue. Construction is expected to begin next summer and be completed in 2018. The plan awaits approval from city agencies and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.