Hunters Point Community Library

Architecture, Long Island City

Photo © Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl’s Hunters Point Library has garnered glowing architectural reviews since it’s opening last month, but visitors quickly pointed out a critical issue with accessibility in the $41 million building. Although the library has an elevator, it doesn’t stop at the fiction section which is tiered on three levels above the lobby and accessible only via stairs. In light of the criticism, a Queens Public Library official has announced that books in that section will be relocated to an accessible area of the library, as Gothamist reported.

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Architecture, Design, Long Island City

Photo © Paul Warchol

Despite standing just 82 feet tall, the new Hunters Point Library manages to stand out among its skyscraper neighbors on the Long Island City waterfront. The concrete structure, designed by Steven Holl Architects, officially opened to the public Tuesday, about two decades after officials proposed building a new Queens Public Library branch. The delays, and the whopping $40 million price tag, appear to have been worth it, as the building, with its carved windows and incredible skyline views, continues to garner approval from top architecture critics.

Take the tour

Design, Long Island City, Queens

Photo by Vitali Ogorodnikov for 6sqft

The long-awaited Hunters Point Library will open in Long Island City next month, more than eight years after its futuristic design was revealed, library officials announced Thursday. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the concrete building with carved windows sits on the East River and boasts sweeping Manhattan views. After many construction and financial delays, the library will officially open on September 24.

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Featured Story

Architecture, Carter Uncut, Features, Long Island City, Queens, Urban Design

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. Here, Carter brings us his sixth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at the new towers defining the Queens skyline.

For a long time, the glass tower erected by Citibank was the lone skyscraper of note in Queens. Known initially as Citicorp at Court Square, it was built in 1989 and designed by Raul de Armas of SOM as a blue-green metal-panel-and-glass office tower with just a few setbacks at its 633-foot-high top—an extremely clean-cut, modern obelisk of fine proportions.

In a 1988 article in The New York Times, Anthony DePalma wrote that the tower “dominates the Queens skyline like a sequoia in the desert” and Paul Goldberger, then the newspaper’s architecture critic, wrote the tower was “rapidly becoming one of the most conspicuous structures in the entire city.” He added, “It is a very unlikely thing, this building—no other skyscraper in New York is remotely like the Citicorp tower, not so much for its design as for the fact that it stands free, alone in this landscape of gas stations, warehouses and row houses,”

The bank tower transformed “the landscape of New York” and “no longer does Manhattan virtually by itself control the skyline,” Mr. Goldberger continued. “Skyscrapers built at random all over New York would be devastating, but an occasional exclamation point, well designed and carefully placed, will do the skyline no grievous harm,” he concluded. This is a very important but also very controversial point as currently evidenced in Manhattan where traditional precincts are being pin-pricked to exhaustion and confusion by supertalls.

more on the queens skyline

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