Columbia GSAPP Core Studio II
Dress Code: Rethinking Architecture’s Civic Presence
The main branch of the New York Public Library system, the Mid-Manhattan Library, contains the largest circulating collections of the entire library system. As a result of the breadth and size of its holdings, it serves as the main repository for the neighborhood libraries: it houses the primary collections from which the smaller, neighborhood libraries draw on a patron-requested basis.
However, despite the larger, “shared” content of the NYPL system, each neighborhood library has its own unique, site-specific collection content that responds to its location and demographic, thus articulating various neighborhood needs and demands. The neighborhood branch characteristics are not entirely discrete and overlaps of collection content occur throughout the system. These overlaps are not necessarily stereotypical, expected, or geographically driven and therefore reveal new relationship between the Manhattan neighborhoods that are not otherwise apparent. Through examining and dissecting these new neighborhood relationships, a different diagram of Manhattan is subsequently created through a different lens.
The project asks: what are the spatial implications of the information gathered regarding neighborhood-specific library content and the subsequent relationships established through overlaps? What if the Mid-Manhattan Library could function as a new diagram of the urbanism of Manhattan? Through the organization and content of its collections, could the library become analogous to a vertical city? The project investigates these questions and seeks to redefine the role of the Mid-Manhattan Library by integrating the various neighborhood branches into the main branch building. More specifically, the library is reconfigured based on neighborhood collections and the site-specific content that each contains, as well as the shared collections.
These links and new relationships are expressed through circulation amongst these collections and their shared content. The variations in neighborhood are expressed through material differentiation and the relative volume that each collection houses. The ultimate aim of the project is to incite new perspectives regarding the diverse neighborhoods of Manhattan through a different approach to library organization and content.
public library content distribution in manhattan
building curvature in stacked plan view
longitudinal building section
short building section
building and section models