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Francine Houben Leads Renovation New York Public Library

Francine Houben & Mecanoo will lead the Mid-Manhattan Library’s renovation

The New York Public Library’s largest circulating branch, Mid-Manhattan Library, is currently undergoing a major renovation to create a state-of-the-art facility that will serve the public in transformative ways. The library, which will reopen in 2020 as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, will create a modern library experience in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

The Renovation

The New York Public Library’s Midtown renovation will enhance and unite the full spectrum of offerings available across the Library system, from circulating and research services to business resources and educational programs for all ages.

Mid-Manhattan Library – the Library’s most heavily used circulating branch – is set to undergo a transformation that will create a new, state-of-the-art library that will serve as both a model and catalyst for a rejuvenated library system.

The team of Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle worked for over a year analyzing library usage data, interviewing staff, surveying the public, and meeting with community stakeholders to ensure that the new branch will best meet the needs of library patrons.

The renovated branch will have a dramatic, multi-story wall of bookshelves – the Long Room; an employment skills centre occupying a full floor as well as an adjacent floor providing job-search help and small-business support; a full-floor dedicated to a library for children and a separate library for teens; additional seating; and one of the only free public roof terraces in Midtown.

NYPL Mid-Manhattan © Mecanoo.jpeg


Mecanoo is a multidisciplinary, global firm with creative professionals working from their office on the Oude Delft, located in the historic heart of the city of Delft, the Netherlands.

The firm’s designs include technical, human and playful aspects. Mecanoo combines the disciplines of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture in a sometimes unorthodox way and with sensitivity to light. Each project is approached in terms of context and how it relates to the larger urban and social fabric; how it impacts the environment and the beauty of a place.

From the start of the 1990s, Mecanoo developed an increasingly clear signature. The three words in the title of Francine Houben’s book: composition, contrast, and complexity, sum up the basis of Mecanoo’s architecture but say little about its nature, which in all respects is the complete opposite of cool, abstract and minimalist. 


DutchCulture USA