The Morgan Library
Renzo Piano

October 02, 2006 /

New York, New York, USA

Photo: Michel Denancé

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.

Photo: © 2006 Todd Eberle

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.

Photo: © 2005 Todd Eberle

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.

Photo: © 2006 Todd Eberle

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.

Photo: Michel Denancé

Photo: © 2006 Todd Eberle

Photo: Michel Denancé

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.

Photo: © 2006 Todd Eberle

Photo: Michel Denancé

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.

Photo: Michel Denancé

The new exhibition spaces are located in both the new structure and the 1928 Annex.

The small 20 x 20 x 20' cube gallery, between the library and the annex, is the only gallery that admits diffused daylight through the glass roof.

Photo: © 2006 Todd Eberle

Photo: © 2006 Todd Eberle

Photo: Michel Denancé

New landscaping surrounding the Library enhances the fully enclosed, park like setting.

Photo: © 2002 Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Morgan LibraryModel
Photo: © 2002 Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Morgan LibraryModel

Photo: © 2002 Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Morgan LibraryPlan
Photo: © 2002 Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Morgan LibrarySection
Photo: © 2002 Renzo Piano Building Workshop and the Morgan LibrarySection

Facts about The Morgan Library

New space above ground:

69,400 ft2
New space below ground: 43,300 ft2

Owner's representative:
Paratus Group of New York

Associate architect:

Beyer Blinder Belle

Last updated: December 19, 2013

See also

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