Location: New York, NY
Size: 4,000 SF Solow Center, 40,000 SF Duke House renovation
New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts is one of the city’s architectural treasures. The James B. Duke House at Fifth Avenue and 1-78th St. is situated on New York City’s historic millionaire’s row. Built in 1912 for a tobacco tycoon and his family, it was designed in the French classical style by architect Horace Trumbauer, a prominent American architect during the Gilded Age. The Duke family donated the mansion to NYU for its IFA program in 1952.
It was designated a Landmarks of New York building in 1959 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The Duke House still houses IFA classrooms, academic offices, a library and a lecture hall.
When the Institute of Fine Arts needed more space to house its rare book collection, a long-time IFA trustee donated two floors of the narrow Solow building next door at 3 E. 78th St. The bottom floors of the Solow building were formerly used as offices. The challenge was how to build a seamless access to that smaller building from the massive Duke mansion. To do this, IFA needed to reprogram and renovate the existing IFA space, as well as provide an enclosed link between the two buildings.
The Duke mansion was redesigned to locate the main library at the bottom two floors. A new access to that main library was placed at the front entry below the mansion’s existing grand staircase. The bottom library level then connected to the Solow House whose bottom floors were redesigned as a library for IFA’s rare book collection. Glazing expert James Carpenter Design Associates, based in New York, was consulted on the project to create a light-filled link between the two buildings. In the Solow house, a new shelving system connecting through the two floors would secure the rare books.
[designed while at Architecture Research Office]