Francine Houben & Elizabeth Leber: Designing a 21st-Century Library

May 3
7:00 pm
8:00 pm
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Last year, The New York Public Library reopened the doors of its largest circulating branch, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), after completing a three-year transformation, thanks to a generous gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Architects Francine Houben, of Mecanoo, and Elizabeth Leber, of Beyer Blinder Belle, took the early 20th-century building, originally designed as a department store, and redesigned it from the inside out to be a dynamic new public space that serves as a house of knowledge, a gateway to inspiration, and a vibrant community center. The result is a new library that is not only beautiful and light-filled but also prepared to meet the ever-changing needs of the institution and the New Yorkers it serves. Houben and Leber speak with architectural historian and professor Barry Bergdoll about their work on SNFL, and how mission-driven design enhances and empowers public spaces to serve communities now and a hundred years from now.