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Mecanoo Replaces Foster on New York Public Library Overhaul

One year after scrapping Norman Foster's controversial redesign, the New York Public Library has commissioned Mecanoo to oversee the planned $300 million overhaul of its Mid-Manhattan branch and flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue. The Dutch practice, who is also renovating Mies van der Rohe's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC, will work with the preservation experts of Beyer Blinder Belle - the project's architect of record. 

"The building should be about the journey of learning," Mecanoo's founding partner and creative director Francine Houben told the New York Times. "Maybe you come in for a book but also take lessons in English." 

Images Released of Beyer Blinder Belle-Designed U.S. Diplomacy Center

The Washington Post has published renderings of the new U.S. Diplomacy Center currently under construction at the State Department in Washington DC. "A shimmering pavilion," as architecture critic Philip Kennicott describes, the new center will serve as a welcoming public entrance to the Department of State's headquarters and be the nation's first museum and education center devoted entirely to the "history, practice and challenges of US Diplomacy. 

Designed by architect Hany Hassan of Beyer Blinder Belle, the glass pavilion will house a museum and an underground cafe, bookstore and event space, providing a new destination just two blocks from the National Mall. 

Grimshaw to Masterplan Washington DC's Union Station

Grimshaw Architects has been asked to collaborate with New York-based Beyer Blinder Belle on a $10 billion masterplan that will modernize Washington DC's 1913 Beaux Arts Union Station. Along with the potential to triple passenger capacity, the plan aims to make the station more accessible and efficient, while integrate a new three-million-square-foot, mixed-use development by Amtrak and Akridge over its rail tracks. 

"Washington DC deserves a station that serves the region on a practical level whilst celebrating the gateway to the nation’s capital," said Grimshaw partner Vincent Chang.

Bloomberg to Announce Mega-Redevelopment of NYC's Lower East Side

After decades of contention between residents and politicians, the Bloomberg administration will announce on Wednesday plans of constructing a six-acre complex by SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects over a ten year period. Nine vacant lots in New York City's Lower East Side will be erected into a mega-development of retail, office, entertainment, cultural and housing units. The complex will be located in rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, once home to working-class Italians, Jews, Puerto Ricans and Ukrainians, and has struggled to preserve affordable housing against an encroaching luxury market. In response, developers have collaborated with local community groups agreeing that half of the projected 1,000 apartments will be for low-, moderate-, and middle-income families. 

However, is this enough to sustain a balance of varying incomes?