It seems that British architect Norman Foster doesn’t have enough to do, now that his design for the Winspear Opera House is going up. He’s just been hired to re-do Manhattan’s great Beaux Arts landmark, the New York Public Library — as part of a $500 million renovation of the building, and a $1.2 billion update of New York City’s entire library system
[Foster is] to create a new circulation library in a space below the library’s Rose Reading Room and overlooking Bryant Park that now houses seven levels of stacks and a basement…
The area, which now measures 1.25 million cubic feet, will be completely reconfigured, with new rooms for children and teenagers and numerous computer work stations. The stacks are to move to an existing three-acre storage area beneath Bryant Park that is also to be renovated. Work is expected to be completed by 2013.
In addition to his new, entirely-from-scratch projects, like the Winspear, Foster has become known for “inserting contemporary designs into historic buildings”:
He has designed glass-enclosed additions to the Reichstag in Berlin (1999), the British Museum in London (2000) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington (2007). This is also not the first time that the architect has tackled a New York City landmark. His 2006 Hearst Tower project on Eighth Avenue at 57th Street in Manhattan involved planting a glass-and-steel tower atop a six-story Art Deco base dating from 1928.