designboom scales the morgan library's scaffolded façade during monumental restoration
 

designboom scales the morgan library's scaffolded façade during monumental restoration

the morgan library & museum is one of new york city’s great architectural treasures — majestic in design, yet intimate in scale. the building’s origins trace back to the vision of financier, collector, and cultural benefactor j. pierpont morgan, who commissioned architects mckim, mead & white to design the original building in 1902 as his personal library. completed in 1906, the structure embodies the renaissance ideal of the unity of the arts through its integration of architecture, sculpture, painting and use of the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. today, the morgan offers visitors rare encounters with great works of human accomplishment through its incredible collection of manuscripts, books, music, drawings, and works of art.

morgan library restoration
image courtesy of the morgan library & museum

 

 

for the first time in its 112-year history, the morgan library & museum is undergoing a monumental restoration — the first ever preservation effort of the landmark building’s exterior. the project, currently underway, will restore and conserve one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in the united states, enhance the surrounding grounds, improve the exterior lighting of the building, and increase public access to, and appreciation, of this architectural jewel.

 

designboom scaled the scaffolding to take an up-close look at the restoration of the morgan library building’s historic façade — see our exclusive video tour at the top of the page.

morgan library restoration
image © designboom

 

 

following the restoration of the interior rooms of the library in 2010, the morgan first began planning for the exterior restoration in 2016 by asking integrated conservation resources (ICR) — a firm specializing in the restoration of historic structures — to provide an initial assessment of the library’s condition. the morgan later engaged the firm to undertake a more detailed analysis of the building, which resulted in a fully articulated restoration approach. finally, ICR, supported by architecture firm beyer blinder belle, carefully studied and documented the existing conditions of the site, installed data loggers to monitor the performance of the exterior envelope, tested proposed remediations, and finalized the details of the restoration.

morgan library restoration
image © designboom

 

 

the comprehensive restoration has seen a specialist team led by project manager jon maass address issues such as masonry deterioration, masonry joint failure, roof conditions, deterioration of the fence and other metalwork corrosion, and sculpture conservation. scaling the scaffolding that leads to the morgan’s loggia offers extraordinary, otherwise unseen views of the outstanding relief work carved into the covered exterior gallery, including incredibly-detailed rendering of ships, animals, and symbols sourced from the natural world.

morgan library restoration
image © designboom

 

 

furthermore, landscape designer todd longstaffe-gowan has been given the task of revitalizing the southern section of the morgan’s campus with a new garden, respecting historic significance of a site while enabling new functionality. the plan creates an accessible route from the interior to the exterior of j. pierpont morgan’s library, with paths of bluestone — set in patterns drawn from the library’s floor and exterior paving — providing a fully accessible surface for visitors. elegant pebble work will add texture and visual variety to the ground plane.

morgan library restoration
image © designboom

 

 

the garden’s planting strategy includes an extension of existing ground cover, the introduction of periwinkle flanking the library’s loggia, and vibrant, low-height herbaceous beds. this landscape will also host several antiquities from the morgan’s holdings that have been otherwise inaccessible to the public, including a large roman sarcophagus, a roman funerary stele, and a pair of renaissance corbels.

morgan library restoration
image courtesy of the morgan library & museum

 

 

additionally, exterior lighting on j. pierpont morgan’s library will be enhanced and improved. at the center of the redesign is the relighting of the historic lantern that hangs from the library’s loggia, while the overall scheme — developed by tillett lighting design associates — will create a moonlit nocturnal environment that gives the library a subtle, timeless, and inviting presence.

morgan library restoration
image © designboom

 

 

accompanied by an exhibition chronicling the history of the library, the entire restoration and rehabilitation of the grounds will be unveiled to the public and accessible in fall 2020.


image courtesy of the morgan library & museum


image © designboom


image © designboom


image courtesy of the morgan library & museum


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image courtesy of the morgan library & museum


image © designboom


image courtesy of the morgan library & museum

 

 

project info:

 

project manager: jon maass
architectural conservator: integrated conservation resources (ICR)
architectural conservation contractor: integrated conservation contracting (ICC)
art conservation: art conservation group
construction manager: sciame construction
coordinating architect: beyer blinder belle
landscape designer: todd longstaffe-gowan landscape design
lighting designer: tillett lighting design associates
masonry and waterproofing contractor: nicholson & galloway
mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer: goldman copeland
structural engineer: old structures engineering

  • Your images and video provide a lingering opportunity to absorb the exquisite architectural details of the library. Thank you for sharing!

    Cindy Puff says:

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