The 53rd Street branch of the New York Public Library will officially open this Monday, June 27th at 10 AM. The library is currently in use and open to the public, but has not yet been inaugurated. A perfect complement to its neighbor, the light filled modern aesthetic mimics the open and clean qualities of The Museum of Modern Art just across the street. A glass curtain wall at street level brightens the space and encourages the public to gaze into the library as they pass by.
With three floors, the design by Architect Enrique Norton’s firm TEN Arquitectos houses state of the art computer labs, reading spaces, a children’s area, and a large audio-visual and book collection. The steps leading down from the central level to the lower level function also as seating to read or watch films projected onto the large screen just opposite them. Most of the reading areas are on the lower level, accommodated between minimal rows of colorful books. One of my favorite features was the collection of illustrated posters of classic novels which sit atop the shelves of books on the lower levels. The combination of sleek white walls, black shelving and bright wood floors provide a well-lit and happy atmosphere to work or remove oneself from bustling midtown just outside.
At only 28,000 square-feet, the library feels calm and manageable, truly encouraging the public to lose themselves in the books or audio materials, instead of in the space itself. The minimalistic aesthetic is fresh and makes a perfect quiet retreat on a hot New York City summer day.
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