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NYPL's Stunning Rose Main Reading Room to Open After Two-Year Renovation

This article was originally published by 6sqft as "PHOTOS: After two-year renovation, NYPL’s historic Rose Main Reading Room will reopen October 5th."

After being closed for a two-year restoration, the New York Public Library’s historic Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room will reopen to the public ahead of schedule on Wednesday, October 5th at 10am.

The $12 million project, managed by Tishman Construction Corporation, came about in May 2014 when an ornamental plaster rosette fell 52 feet from the Reading Room’s ceiling. In addition to recreating and replacing this piece, all 900 rosettes in both rooms were reinforced with steel cables. Other work included the recreation of a 27′ x 33′ James Wall Finn mural on the ceiling of the Catalog Room and the restoration of the chandeliers. To mark the occasion, the NYPL has shared an incredible collection of photographs documenting the restoration work and the Rose Main Reading Room with nearly all scaffolding removed.

© Max Touhey Photography© Max Touhey Photography© Max Touhey Photography© Max Touhey Photography+ 28

How the MetLife Building Redefined Midtown Manhattan

Recently the subject of a competition to reimagine its expansive facade, the MetLife building is one of Manhattan's most noticeable - and hated - buildings. In this article originally published on 6sqft as "Great Game Changers: How the MetLife Building Redefined Midtown Architecture," Carter B Horsley tells the tale of how the building came to be.

Perhaps the most detested midtown skyscraper by the public, this huge tower has, nevertheless, always been a popular building with tenants for its prime location over Grand Central Terminal and its many views up and down Park Avenue. It is also one of the world’s finest examples of the Brutalist architecture, commendable for its robust form and excellent public spaces, as well as its excellent integration into the elevated arterial roads around it.

However, it is also immensely bulky and its height monstrous. As shown in the photograph ahead, the building completely dominates and overshadows the former New York Central Building immediately to the north, which had been designed by Warren & Wetmore as part of the “Terminal City” complex. The New York Central Building, now known as the Helmsley Building, straddled the avenue with remarkable grace and its distinguished pyramid. As one of the city’s very rare, “drive-through” buildings, it was the great centerpiece of Park Avenue. But by shrouding such a masterpiece in its shadows, quite literally, the Pan Am Building (today the MetLife building) desecrated a major icon of the city that will unfortunately will never recover from this contemptible slight on such a prominent site.

The New LaGuardia Airport is "Lackluster and Uninspired"

Two weeks ago, New York Governer Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a plan to transform LaGuardia airport into "a globally-renowned, 21st century airport that is worthy of the city and state of New York." However the redesign is not universally popular. In this article originally titled "The New LaGuardia Airport: Not Functional, Not Inspiring, Not an Icon," - the first of his regular column over at 6sqft - architecture critic Carter B. Horsley explains why "Queens deserves better."

The recent announcement by Governor Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden of plans to “rebuild” La Guardia Airport at a cost of $4 billion was described in a Page One caption in The Post as “the end of an error,” a reference to the airport’s reputation that became tarnished over the years. Last October, Biden remarked that if someone had taken him to LaGuardia, he’d think he was in “some Third World country.”

Since its opening in 1939, when it accommodated “flying boats” at its Marine Air Terminal, the airport has not kept up with the growth of jumbo jets and air travel in general, but in the days of the Super Constellation passenger planes with their triple-tails and sloping noses, it was a very nice Art Deco place.

The published renderings that accompanied the announcement were not terribly reassuring, as they depicted a very long curved terminal with gangly tentacles raised over plane taxiways that hinted at torsos of praying mantises: an awkward rather than a graceful vault.

© Governor Andrew Cuomo© Governor Andrew Cuomo© Governor Andrew Cuomo© Governor Andrew Cuomo+ 15