New York Public Library
The Tremont Branch Library is a landmarks quality library that opened in 1905. It was built from funds donated by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Though the exterior masonry and limestone façade is largely intact, the interior had undergone a series of renovations, which were unsympathetic to the quality of the original structure. The goal of this project was to renovate the entire building to provide accessibility to the handicapped, restore the original character to as great a degree possible and meet contemporary use requirements, which included the incorporation of new air-conditioning and computer technologies.
After due historic research in the New York Public Library archives, Sen Architects proposed a space plan that worked with the historic fabric of the original structure. All ceiling drops and ductwork were removed. The new interventions were in keeping with the original character. Extensive use of millwork – paneling, doors and trim – was used to relate the new work to the existing. The structure was made accessible to the handicapped without disturbing the special character of the building, by lowering the vestibule to street level, and incorporating the steps and wheelchair lift into an expanded vestibule. Material selections – Tennesee marble, oak millwork, and lighting were made to match the original to as large a degree as possible. The profiles of the new millwork trims matched existing, and the new wall incorporated built in shelving and wood work to appear as an integral part of the original design.