New York Public Library Unveils Stunning ‘Rose Reading Room’ After Two-Year Renovation

Researchers and library lovers are rejoicing over news that, after a two-year, $12-million restoration, the New York Public Library is ready to unveil the historic Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Catalog Room on October 5. The work was prompted in 2014 when a foot-wide ornamental rosette fell 52 feet from the ceiling, making it the first renovation to the space since 1998. Work to the beloved area of the library was completed ahead of schedule by the Tishman Construction Corporation, and included upgrades that not only stabilized all 900 rosettes, but also fitted chandeliers with LED lights and recreated the ceiling mural by James Wall Finn in the catalog room.  While Finn's other murals in the reading room had been restored in the 1990s, the catalog room piece was found to be beyond repair due to paint loss, discoloration, and patch jobs. EverGreene Architectural Arts were tasked with recreating the mural.

In order to complete the restoration, the historic oak desks with fitted brass lamps had to be painstakingly covered to prevent damage. Images during the construction highlight the remarkable transformation the space underwent, and not everything was happening above ground. At the same time, in order to keep the majority of research materials available in Manhattan, the library was moving materials into a new, $23 million state-of-the-art storage facility below Bryant Park. The facility will hold over 4.3 million research volumes that will arrive up to the Rose Main Reading Room via a $2.6 million modern conveyor system.

The reading room, which first opened in 1911, will be open to the public during regular library hours and on daily tours of the Schwarzman Building at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. To celebrate the opening, the library is holding a photographic exhibition with more than 75 images that capture the journey to preserve the building. This free exhibition is on until October 9, 2016. 

New York Public Library: Website | Facebook | Instagram
via [this isn't happiness, archdaily]

All images via Max Touhey Photography

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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