Brooklyn Public Library Central Library
Plaza and Access Improvements
Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY
While landmarked and revered, the entry to BPL’s Central Library required creativity to maintain the grandeur and grace of arrival yet permit universal access to its main portal, correct serious water infiltration, permit the construction of a needed auditorium beneath its surface, and integrate a new outdoor café, program uses, landscaping, lighting and signage. The project was first planned and conceptually designed by Elisabeth Martin, as BPL Director of Planning, Design & Facilities, and then brought through the fuller design process and construction by VBA. Its goals fulfill each of the Library’s dreams for the plaza – respectfully, artfully and functionally. The project introduces comfort, program uses, and user delight with the introduction of a new water source (a computerized fountain spray system), landscaping, an outdoor amphitheater, a movable café, and most importantly, discretely integrated ramps which permit non-ambulatory users as well as children in strollers to enter the grand lobby directly from the Library’s glorious civic plaza.
Elisabeth Martin, at BPL, with Vince Benic Architects (VBA)