Diatriba Kimmelman-Foster sulla New York Library

Immagine Norman Foster + Partners

Il 29 gennaio 2013 Michael Kimmelman, critico d’architettura del New York Times, ha definito il progetto di Foster per la New York Central Public Library (di cui vi avevamo parlato qui) come un’opera “non degna di lui”, paragonando la qualità dei disegni a quelli per “un centro commerciale di periferia”

Michael Kimmelmann

Scrive Kimmelman: «Per me, il risultato è un goffo e  angusto pastiche di livelli, con finestrature claustrofobiche, costruito intorno ad un atrio inutilmente ingombrante con una scala curva più adatta a un hotel di Las Vegas» (leggi qui l’articolo completo)

Norman Foster, mediante una lettera al New York Times, accompagnata da una seconda lettera del presidente della biblioteca Tony Marx, ha risposto che i disegni sono attualmente in lavorazione, definendo la diatriba di Kimmelman offensiva ed inutile: «Noi cerchiamo di proteggere il patrimonio storico della biblioteca. E ‘stata fondata sia come luogo di ricerca che come una biblioteca per il prestito, pertanto il nostro intervento mira a ricollocare la zona prestito nella giusta posizione. Con il nuovo progetto non solo stiamo attrezzando l’edificio per l’era digitale, ma anche creando spazi aggiuntivi per i ricercatori. L’opzione di non intervenire non è contemplabile: l’attuale magazzino non è conforme alle normative vigenti e alle norme di sicurezza antincendio di conservazione dei libri. Non essendo possibile metterlo a norma, c’è di creare uno spazio pubblico importante per i newyorkesi».

Di seguito le due lettere di Foster e  Marx

 
Norman Foster
To the Editor:
Michael Kimmelman questions the strategy of centralizing the New York Public Library. We seek to protect the library’s historic legacy. It was founded as both a research and a circulating library, and we are returning the circulating collection to its rightful location. In the process not only are we equipping the building for the digital age, but we are also creating additional spaces for research readers.
The option of doing nothing with the book stacks does not exist; they do not comply with current fire safety codes or book conservation standards. They cannot be adapted to comply, and therefore there is an opportunity to create a major public space for New Yorkers. The structural solution for removing the stacks uses tried-and-tested techniques, so there is no inherent risk of cost overruns.
The design team continues to work closely with the library, and the scheme will develop significantly over the coming months as this creative exchange develops. Mr. Kimmelman has acknowledged this. Therefore his diatribe about our design is both offensive and premature.
NORMAN FOSTER
London, Feb. 1, 2013
 
To the Editor:
Re “In Renderings for a Library Landmark, Stacks of Questions, Still” (Critic’s Notebook, front page, Jan. 30):
Michael Kimmelman casually concedes that New Yorkers deserve a new central circulating library — yet he argues that we should table these needs for yet more years of waiting.
The Central Library Plan has been the subject of public discussion for five years. It will provide a world-class branch library, double the public space in our main building (without changing any of its current historic spaces), bring financial stability throughout the New York Public Library system, and will help preserve the research collection.
Waiting is not an option. Our most used branch, Mid-Manhattan Library, has degraded, our research collections need adequate preservation, and the library system faces declining resources.
Notwithstanding city budget cuts, in our branches we are greatly expanding after-school, technology training and adult learning programs, while also building new branches in underserved areas such as Mariners Harbor, Staten Island, and renovating older libraries. Amid hundreds of millions of dollars in branch capital projects managed by the library, we have never once gone over budget in the past eight years.
Supported by the neighborhood community board, financially prudent and as wonderfully ambitious as the library users we serve, the Central Library Plan fulfills New Yorkers’ aspirations.
TONY MARX
President, New York Public Library
New York, Jan. 31, 2013
 
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