A cast-in place concrete ramp cuts through new oak flooring & slab to provide a generous welcome zone accessible to all.
Existing low ceilings and compartmentalized spaces were removed to restore the original McKim Meade & White proportions and detailing. R+L significantly enlarged the reading areas rear windows, strengthening the connections to the exterior garden.
An open stair provides a sense of connectivity between floors and encourages stair use - an important aspect of active design. A graphic pattern of lights provide a unifying datum across the space & highlights the restored historic detailing above.
New suspended lighting highlights the entry as an offset lighting grid illuminates the main reading areas below & restored historic detailing above.
A herringbone light pattern illuminates the second floor children's areas. An restored hearth provides a center for toddler story time.
Story time zone with restored hearth.
R+L wrapped the building cores in a graphic grid of letters that have encoded within them notable, yet partial excerpts from literature.
A new ramp makes the library accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. A new open stair opens up to the floors above while a circular LED info-board scrolls library announcements and activities.
A new, centralized open stairway encourages visitors to burn some calories. A new elevator is pushed toward the rear of the space.
Section perspective showing new multi-purpose space, adult and teen reading areas and children's floor.
View from street.
Sloped entry lobby and open glazed stair.
First floor adult reading lounge with open glazed stair.
Physical model of first floor with adult and teen areas.
Second floor toddlers and children's zones.
Entry level plan layout.
2nd floor plan layout.


New York Public Library & New York City/DDC, Bronx, NY

As part of NYC’s Design Excellence program, R+L is redesigning this 19,000sf McKim, Mead, and White designed branch library in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx. The project creates a new contemporary identity that foregrounds a new open stair that unites the four main floors of the branch. An internal entry ramp and elevator creates a fully accessible and LEED certified interior environment, furthering the NYPL’s mission to provide broad access to information, to offer special programs, and to provide a nurturing environment for teens and young children.

Andrew Carnegie’s 1901 gift to NYPL of over 60 neighborhood branches transformed the idea of the library. With this project, R+L develops a new paradigm for the renovation of these simple and powerful buildings by recovering its spatial and organizational strength, and by amplifying its extraordinary character through the insertion of vibrant, contemporary architectural and programmatic elements which provide increased functionality and technology to support modern library functions.

Karl Larson, project manager
Benjamin Cadena, project architect