16 February 2012

Farewell, thou 1970 Brutalist hulk!

The New York Public Library will close its largest library, the Mid-Manhattan, and move its books into the central Fifth Avenue building that it's known for by 2014. Now, I love libraries, and I love that branch (best place to find a recent bestseller on 7-day loan!) but it is ugly and unfriendly to visitors. (Looks better outside than inside, trust me.) I have confidence any architect could do better, and Norman Foster of "the Gherkin" and Hearst Tower fame will be the man to do it.

If they could only replace the annoying bag-search stations while they're at it...

Photo: Ilya Eric Lee


Anonymous said...

Your comments about the Mid-Manhattan's exterior indicates that you are woefully under-educated in architectural history. It is classical in every sense of the word. Why not do yourself a favor and research the building's history. You might learn a thing or two about architecture and this building in particular.
You must have skipped a core art-history course in your education. Find a book on NYC architecture, on skyscrapers, and on classical architectural language. Brutalist this building is not. Where did you ever get that notion from? Yikes.

Ellen said...

Hi, Anonymous. I did take an architectural history course once upon a time, and I realize I used "Brutalist" incorrectly. Sorry about that, I did take architectural history and I should have known better.

I guess I was looking for a term referring more to the interior of the building and the feeling you get entering and using it, which echoes that of Brutalist architecture - the very tiny individual, dwarfed by a setting in which she can never be comfortable.