Andrew Berman Architect was asked to design a re-conceived and enlarged branch library located in Stapleton, Staten Island for the New York Public Library. A single room Carnegie branch library, designed by Carrere and Hastings in 1909, had been serving the community for over 100 years, and was to be renovated as part of the library expansion. An empty adjacent lot was allocated for a 7,000 square foot addition to create a new library of 12,000 square feet that would better serve the community and its current needs.
The new library was intended above all to be an inviting, open, and accessible public space for the community. The new library had to be on a single level, stitch new building to old, and be handicapped accessible. An open plan, easily monitored by staff, that provided strategic spatial separations between children’s areas, teen area, and adult area was desired.
Working with the sloping grade of the land, the new building was sited such that a new street entrance could be accessed from grade, without steps. Teen and adult reading and research areas are located in the new building, separated by a transparent community room. The original Carnegie Library, which is immediately accessed off the new entry, was restored true to its original design, and is now the children’s reading room. The structurally glazed facade invites the public and supplies natural light. The exposed wood structure provides a sense of rhythm, scale and material richness unexpected in contemporary public buildings. A radiant heating system efficiently warms the polished concrete floors.
The library is the digital hub and resource for the neighborhood, providing Wi-Fi and computer terminals for students and residents. While information is increasingly available and distributed in a digital format, the architect sought in this building to assert the enduring relevance and primacy of the book. As such all walls are lined with bookshelves, putting the entire collection of the library within view, and within reach, of all its patrons.
Location: Staten Island, New York
Area: 12,000 sq ft
Client: New York Public Library
Structural Engineer: Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP
MEP Engineer: IP Group Engineer
Lighting Consultant: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design
Landscape Architect: Wallace, Roberts & Todd
General Contractor: Plaza Construction
Photo Credit: Naho Kubota
Library Building Award, AIA/ALA, 2017
Wood Design Award, 2015
IALD Lighting Design Award, 2015
Award of Merit, AIA New York Chapter, 2014
NYPL Neighborhood Library Award, 2014
Award of Excellence, AIA New York State, 2013
Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, 2013
About Andrew Berman Architect
Andrew Berman Architect is focused on the realization of unique and finely executed buildings and spaces. The work of the studio capitalizes on the qualities of place and seeks opportunities in the desires and programmatic requirements of each of our clients. Informed by working within the constraints of the dense urban fabric of New York City, Andrew Berman Architect utilizes an economy of means to create dignified and spatially rich architecture. Natural light, carefully chosen views, and appropriate materials are the mediums through which we engage our work with its context and place.
Andrew Berman Architect works on a wide range of project types and scales for an equally wide range of clients; public, institutional, and private. Our interests and experiences allow us to approach each project on its own unique terms, through an intense engagement with user and site, while drawing on our varied experiences in design and construction.
Since its founding in 1995 the practice has gained recognition through notable projects such as the Center for Architecture for the American Institute of Architects (2003), Writing Studio (2008), FDNY Engine Company 259 Firehouse (2009), MoMA PS1 Entrance Building (2011), The National Opera Center (2012), Stapleton Library (2013), and SculptureCenter (2014). In 2010, Andrew received the Emerging Voices Award given by The Architectural League of New York and in 2014 became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. In 2016 Andrew was the recipient of the Architecture Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters.