Tag Archives: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Morgan Library

The Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue comprises three classical, landmark buildings and a fourth, modern addition that joins the three into a complex that’s doubled in size.

The original buildings are J. P. Morgan, Jr.’s House (1853, originally built for Isaac N. Phelps), on the SE corner of Madison Avenue and E 37th Street; J. Pierpont’s Private Library (1906, designed by Charles McKim of McKim, Mead & White), mid-block on E 36th Street between Madison and Park Avenues; and J. Pierpont’s Private Library Addition (1928, designed by Benjamin Wistar Morris), on the NE corner of Madison Avenue and E 36th Street. The library addition was built on the site of J. Pierpont Morgan, Sr.’s mansion, after his death. (J. Pierpont Morgan, Jr. opened the library to the public in 1924.)

In 2006, the museum built a further addition, planned by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners. The modern addition connected the three original buildings and also filled the lot east of the 1853 brownstone.

In 2010, the museum restored the original library – the McKim building – to its original splendor under guidance of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners. The interior restoration included new lighting and the re-installation of the original chandeliers, deep cleaning, and replacement of plexiglass exhibit covers with non-glare acrylic. You can see before and after photos of the interior here.

Incidentally, the lionesses guarding the Morgan Library entrance on E 36th Street – Prudence and Felicity – were carved by Edward Clark Potter, the same sculptor who created the New York Public Library lions Patience and Fortitude.

Morgan Library Vital Statistics
  • Location: Madison Avenue between E 36th and E 37th Streets
  • Year completed: 1853 (house), 1906 (private library), 1928 (addition), 2006 (second addition)
  • Architect: McKim, Mead & White (private library), Benjamin Wistar Morris (addition), Renzo Piano Building Workshop (second addition)
  • Style: Italian Renaissance (private library), Florentine Renaissance (addition)
  • New York City Landmark: 1966
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1966
Morgan Library Suggested Reading

Google Map

New York Times Building

New York Times Building, called the ugliest building in New York City by the American Institute of Architects, is nonetheless impressive in many ways. The exposed frame, ceramic-rod screen, monumental logo and sheer height make it stand out even in a neighborhood filled with buildings that scream for attention.

(Some critics say it was crazy for the Times to spend nearly half a billion dollars for a new headquarters (58% ownership of the $850 million cost) while the paper’s fortunes are shrinking – but that’s neither an architectural nor an aesthetic argument.)

The New York Times Building’s innovative ceramic rod screen – which dramatically cuts energy costs by blocking solar heat – became an embarrassment: Four climbers (so far) have used the screen as a ladder to scale the 52-story facade. The first climber said he did it to protest global warming: Ironic, as his action discourages use of this technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The high-tech lobby, meanwhile, revives and updates an old newspaper tradition: the news is on display for passers-by.

New York Times Building Vital Statistics
New York Times Building Recommended Reading

Google Map