The New York Public Library, Francis Martin Library

Bronx, NY

2008

At the Francis Martin Library, a 1956 Bronx branch of the New York Public Library, we transformed the dark, cheerless, and outdated spaces of the second floor children’s reading room into an environment that stimulates the imagination and encourages learning through form, color, and layout. The fluidity of the new plan improves circulation and movement throughout the second floor, allowing visitors to comprehend and make use of all the multi-faceted components and offerings of the library. The new configuration also increases access to daylight and the panoramic views provided by the windows of the gently curving façade. The brighter atmosphere, imaginative design, and playful environment have enlivened the spirit of the library, improved visibility, and increased circulation.

©Timothy Furzer

The New York Public Library, Francis Martin Library

Bronx, NY

2008

The existing shape of the library offered opportunities even while posing a number of design challenges. The team chose to enhance and emphasize the existing curved façade by introducing more arcs and curves into the design of the ceiling and the partition walls. The dynamic, three-dimensional curves echo the lines of the existing building and create an atmosphere of fun for the children.

©Timothy Furzer

The location of existing mechanical systems meant that in some places the ceiling height was limited to nine feet. To compensate for this restriction, we decided to cover the ceiling in a reflective, stretchable film called Barrisol. The Barrisol membrane undulates throughout the center of the room and in some instances folds away to increase the ceiling height by an additional two feet and expose the concrete structure above.

©Timothy Furzer

The client required visual access to every corner of the children’s room. Consequently, the shelving was organized in a fanning radial pattern so that one staff member at the circulation desk could keep an eye on as much of the room as possible. Translucent plastic shelves display books in a clear and inviting manner, while the diagonal arrangement of the shelves creates a fun series of spaces for the children.

©1100 Architect

The design is bold and graphic, with a palette of oranges, greens, and blues offset by glossy white. The splashes of bright color result in an interior that is animated, expressive, and thoughtful.

©Timothy Furzer

A large globe light fixture designates and illuminates the story hour area, and creates a casual and warm atmosphere in which children can participate in a shared learning experience that promotes discovery.

©Timothy Furzer

Wall graphics were designed to inspire pride and provide information about the surrounding Bronx neighborhood. Functioning as a game, the premise is to match up the names of famous figures born in the Bronx with their corresponding descriptions.

©Timothy Furzer

Publications

Baolin, Song. “Library of the Future.” Di Magazine, June 2011.

Quartino, Daniela Santos, ed. New York Architecture. Barcelona: Loft Publications, 2010.

“2009 AIANY Design Awards.” Oculus, Summer 2009.

“Francis Martin Library.” bob: International Magazine of Space Design, February 2009.

Landgraf, Greg. “AIA/ALA Library Building Awards.” American Libraries, April 1, 2009.

Galindo, Michelle. Collection: U.S. Architecture. Berlin, Germany: Braun Publishing AG, 2009.

Similar Projects

©Timothy Furzer

The New York Public Library, Francis Martin Library

Bronx, NY

2008

©Timothy Furzer

At the Francis Martin Library, a 1956 Bronx branch of the New York Public Library, we transformed the dark, cheerless, and outdated spaces of the second floor children’s reading room into an environment that stimulates the imagination and encourages learning through form, color, and layout. The fluidity of the new plan improves circulation and movement throughout the second floor, allowing visitors to comprehend and make use of all the multi-faceted components and offerings of the library. The new configuration also increases access to daylight and the panoramic views provided by the windows of the gently curving façade. The brighter atmosphere, imaginative design, and playful environment have enlivened the spirit of the library, improved visibility, and increased circulation.

©Timothy Furzer

The existing shape of the library offered opportunities even while posing a number of design challenges. The team chose to enhance and emphasize the existing curved façade by introducing more arcs and curves into the design of the ceiling and the partition walls. The dynamic, three-dimensional curves echo the lines of the existing building and create an atmosphere of fun for the children.

©Timothy Furzer

The location of existing mechanical systems meant that in some places the ceiling height was limited to nine feet. To compensate for this restriction, we decided to cover the ceiling in a reflective, stretchable film called Barrisol. The Barrisol membrane undulates throughout the center of the room and in some instances folds away to increase the ceiling height by an additional two feet and expose the concrete structure above.

©1100 Architect

The client required visual access to every corner of the children’s room. Consequently, the shelving was organized in a fanning radial pattern so that one staff member at the circulation desk could keep an eye on as much of the room as possible. Translucent plastic shelves display books in a clear and inviting manner, while the diagonal arrangement of the shelves creates a fun series of spaces for the children.

©Timothy Furzer

The design is bold and graphic, with a palette of oranges, greens, and blues offset by glossy white. The splashes of bright color result in an interior that is animated, expressive, and thoughtful.

©Timothy Furzer

A large globe light fixture designates and illuminates the story hour area, and creates a casual and warm atmosphere in which children can participate in a shared learning experience that promotes discovery.

©Timothy Furzer

Wall graphics were designed to inspire pride and provide information about the surrounding Bronx neighborhood. Functioning as a game, the premise is to match up the names of famous figures born in the Bronx with their corresponding descriptions.

©Timothy Furzer

Publications

Baolin, Song. “Library of the Future.” Di Magazine, June 2011.

Quartino, Daniela Santos, ed. New York Architecture. Barcelona: Loft Publications, 2010.

“2009 AIANY Design Awards.” Oculus, Summer 2009.

“Francis Martin Library.” bob: International Magazine of Space Design, February 2009.

Landgraf, Greg. “AIA/ALA Library Building Awards.” American Libraries, April 1, 2009.

Galindo, Michelle. Collection: U.S. Architecture. Berlin, Germany: Braun Publishing AG, 2009.

Similar Projects

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