Francine Houben, director of Dutch architect firm Mecanoo, has been asked to lead the grand-scale renovation of New York Public Library (NYPL) on Fifth Avenue in a project set to cost 266 million euros. The classic building in the centre of Manhattan is visited annually by millions of tourists and urgently needs renovating, with talks under way for more than a decade.
Houben and her firm Mecanoo have been chosen because of their award-winning record around the world and accessible designs. The selection committee will certainly have been impressed by Houben’s Library of Birmingham, which she describes as a ‘people’s palace’. Visitor numbers have doubled since the opening in 2013.