Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY
The library is a free standing structure, surrounded by paved areas and a lawn in the front. Though the structural condition is still sound, the building has suffered several unsympathetic renovations in the early 1970's, which have severely compromised the original design .The library has all the architectural features of a Carnegie library, such as an entrance vestibule, which is reached by several steps from the exterior.
Under a project completed by Sen Architects the library underwent a complete interior transformation and was made accessible to the handicapped. In order to avoid a large ramp at the front or side of the building, which would have detracted from the features of the original design, a side courtyard was created, leading to an entrance for the wheelchair bound users. The proposed yard is landscaped and can be used as an outdoor reading space.
All elements and details of the new interventions respected the original intent to create a harmonious completed project. In fact after the completion it is difficult to tell which elements are new and which were original. The terracotta surrounds at the new side entrance match the profiles of the surround at the existing main entrance, whilst the design of the scalloped metal grilles is echoed in the new grilles. The robust design of the front stoop is followed in the new low walls along the side yards, with integral post lighting matching the stoop.