The Morgan Library
The Morgan was founded by Pierpont Morgan in 1906 and made a public institution in 1924, serving as a scholarly research library as well as a full service museum.
The historical and architectural significant buildings of the
Morgan were, the 1906 American Renaissance building by Charles
McKim of McKim, Mead & White, the 1928 Annex, designed by
Benjamin Wistar Morris and the nineteenth century townhouse, known
as the Morgan House.
The idea of the central court came to me as I thought about the ways piazzas function in the Renaissance towns of Italy./ Renzo Piano
The new steel and glass structures by Renzo Piano preserves the
historic buildings and creates three new modestly scaled pavilions.
The pavilions are joined to the massive stone buildings by vertical
slots of glass.
The new main entrance, facing Madison Avenue, leads to the heart
of the design,
a fifty-two-foot-high glass roofed courtyard, inserted between the J.P. Morgan house, the original library building and its annex, from which all other museum and library activities radiates.
Located in the largest of the three pavilions, the glass
enclosed courtyard give visitors a view of the side and back of the
McKim Building, never before publicly accessible, and of the
neighborhood prewar apartment buildings through a towering window
at the rear. The other two pavilions, containing a gallery and
offices, complete the three sides of the light-filled atrium.
A café and a couple of ficus trees, planted in circular cuts in the wooden floor, give the courtyard a piazza like feeling. Glass stairs and an enclosed elevator connects to the upstairs landing and the Reading Room, located in a naturally lit space above the main entrance.
Piano placed half the project below ground to gain additional
space without eclipsing the historic buildings or compromising the
neighborhood's architectural integrity.
An atrium below ground leads to the 280-seat Gilder Lehrman Hall, clad in panels of burnished red cherry wood, and a three-level subterranean vault, containing the Morgan's extensive collection.
The new exhibition spaces are located in both the new structure and the 1928 Annex.
New landscaping surrounding the Library enhances the fully enclosed, park like setting.
Facts about The Morgan Library
New space above ground:
New space below ground: 43,300 ft2
Paratus Group of New York
Last updated: December 17, 2012